The not-for-profit entity behind Firefox web browser, Mozilla believes that the decision is not the ideal solution to fix the problem of harmful online content. In fact, the decision may lead to over-censorship in the near future. Mozilla has been advocating for data protection and privacy rights for a long time now.
The tech company argued that there are more things that the government can take different measures to protect the interest of online users. Mozilla believes that any regulatory interventions to the complex issue must be preceded by wide-ranging discussions.
Government of India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) proposal to bring online companies under the censorship purview seems to have not gone down well with Mozilla. The government disclosed its plan to amend the IT rules where social media platforms will need to deploy tools to identify and curb unlawful content. These companies will be forced to follow strict due diligence practices as per the proposed rules.
In a blog titled, “
India attempts to turn online companies into censors and undermines security – Mozilla responds”, Mozilla laid out its 5 main concerns which will also be filed with the MeitY:
1. The proactive obligation on services to remove “unlawful” content will inevitably lead to over-censorship and chill free expression.
2. Automated and machine-learning solutions should not be encouraged as a silver bullet to fight against harmful content on the internet.
3. One-size-fits-all obligations for all types of online services and all types of unlawful content is arbitrary and disproportionately harms smaller players.
4. Requiring services to decrypt encrypted data, weakens overall security and contradicts the principles of data minimisation, endorsed in MEITYs draft data protection bill.
5. Disproportionate operational obligations, like mandatorily incorporating in India, are likely to spur market exit and deter market entry for SMEs.
According to Mozilla, proposed rules are a sharp blow to end-to-end encryption technologies that are used by most popular messaging, banking and e-commerce services. Mozilla believes that the smaller tech firms and internet services will have to bear majority of the impact if the policy is approved.