Government's post takedown orders against IT Act, says Twitter

In its filing with the Karnataka High Court, Twitter has claimed that the government's order to take down posts violates the IT Act's remit to only block existing information.
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In new reporting around Twitter's challenge against the 39 central government blocking orders, some going back to February 2021, it has been discovered that the social media platform will be citing the IT Act for protection.

In a filing seen by The Economic Times, Twitter claims that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had asked to block 1,474 accounts, 256 URLs, 175 tweets, and one hashtag between February 2, 2021, and February 28, 2022. Twitter did not provide details on the exact orders they were challenging, saying they were submitted to the court in a "sealed cover" pursuant to Rule 16 of the Information Technology Rules 2009.

In June, Twitter claimed it was issued further orders to block 10 accounts and 27 URLs. However, these orders were withdrawn after meetings between Twitter’s Chief Compliance Officer Vinay Prakash and the ministry officials.

The company claims the 39 orders being challenged were “manifestly arbitrary and procedurally and substantially not in consonance” with Section 69A of the IT Act. In particular, Twitter claimed that "account level" blocking orders were not permitted by the act.

In its submission, Twitter said Section 69A "extends only to blocking ‘information’ that is already available and does not extend to preventing information from being generated, transmitted, received, stored, or hosted.”

Edited by Megha Reddy

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