Wednesday, April 24, 2019

TikTok ban lifted by HC after co assures it of regulation

The Madurai bench of Madras high court on Wednesday vacated its April 3 interim order prohibiting downloading of TikTok after the Chinese company submitted that it had put moderating mechanisms in place to regulate obscene content. However, the HC warned that the company would be charged with contempt of court if the regulatory mechanisms were not found in place.
Senior counsel Isaac Mohanlal representing TikTok argued that the company followed all laid down standards and had better privacy provisions than other social media platforms. It also told the division bench of justice N Kirubakaran and justice S S Sundar that it was only an intermediary platform and did not upload content.

When senior counsel claimed that TikTok had not violated any laws, the court said it was only because there were no laws to address the issues concerning social media platforms, and cited instances where the Parliament took several years to pass legislation.

The court also took note of submissions by amicus curiae Arvind Datar, who said that banning the app -- which is only an intermediary website -- cannot be the solution and cited previous judgments of the Supreme Court and the guidelines of the Information Technology Act. “An intermediary shall not be liable for any data not uploaded by them. There is no obligation on their part for pre-censorship,” said senior counsel citing Supreme Court judgments.
The amicus curiae also said that he met with the officials of the ministry of electronics and information technology and, so far, the Union government had blocked 14,220 websites between 2010-2018 and that this was the first case in the country on an intermediary website.

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