Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) Profile picture
Born out of #SaveTheInternet. IFF advances democratic freedoms in a digital society. 👀: /
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Dec 23, 2023 8 tweets 2 min read
Can we catch a break!?
The past few days in the Parliament align on the chaotic bad plane. Suspensions, followed by more suspensions, followed by draconian bills passing without any opposition (because, yk, suspensions). 🎪

Broadcasting Bill, Telecom Bill, & now the criminal reform bills – our digital rights are in deep waters. 1/n… This week, both houses passed three bills reshaping the Indian criminal justice system: Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita; Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill; & Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita.

*pulls out Hindi-English dictionary* 2/n…
Dec 20, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
The Telecom Bill 2023, has been passed in Lok Sabha, despite suspension of approx 100 opposition MPs in the LS. 👇

A repackaged version of the colonial past, the Bill tends to retain draconian surveillance & internet suspension powers. 1/n 👇👇… Historically, laws governing telecom services are (mis)used to surveil devices & carry out internet suspensions. 🙅‍♀️🙅‍♀️

Simply replicating provisions from the 1885 law, the Telecom Bill of 2023 may also expand surveillance & suspension powers to online communication services, posing threats to user rights & democratic freedoms. 2/n
Dec 18, 2023 12 tweets 4 min read
⚠️STATEMENT: The Telecommunication Bill, 2023 makes significant departures from its 2022 counterpart. Our concerns? Some same old, glaring. Some new & quite concerning. We're unsure about the roots of these changes, since @DoT_India never published the consultation comments. 1/11 The definition of "telecom service" in the 2023 Bill is much shorter & doesn't mention the entities to whom the Act will apply to. The current ambiguous definitions do not make it explicitly clear that internet services (messaging, email, etc.) do not come under its ambit. 2/11
Jun 2, 2023 10 tweets 5 min read

In its 279th Report on the "Usage of the Law of Sedition (April, 2023), the Law Commission of India (LCI) has recommended RETAINING Section 124A of IPC, increased the punishment, and has proposed additional safeguards to avoid its misuse. 1/10
#LawCommissionofIndia Image In support of #SeditionLaw, the LCI, headed by Former Chief Justice of Karnataka HC, Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, has referred to the Supreme Court's 1962 judgment in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar for clarity, while ending up making it more unclear than before. 2/10
Jun 1, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
In May 2023, IFF filed 28 RTI requests & 3 First Appeals.

A response we received from @GoI_MeitY revealed that from 2018 to February 2023, 29,884 URLs were blocked under Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.

Read all about it in our transparency report 👇1/5… More highlights:
1️⃣ @MIB_India refused to disclose the number of URL takedown requests it has issued, citing confidentiality & exemption from Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act, 2005. 2/5
May 31, 2023 5 tweets 3 min read
In a few hours, @Meta shareholders will vote on Proposal 7, a proposal on allegations of bias in Meta’s India operations. Ahead of the vote, a statement by IFF’s Founding Director, @apar1984, urging shareholders to vote yes, will be played at the Annual General Meeting. 1/5 Of all the proposals on the table at Meta’s AGM, Proposal 7 is particularly important to Indian users. It highlights Meta’s role in disseminating hate speech, failure to address risks & political bias, inadequate content moderation & transparency in platform practices. 2/5
May 31, 2023 6 tweets 3 min read
The @Meta Annual General Meeting is on 31 May, 2023. In the days leading up to the meeting, we’re sharing 7 reasons to vote yes on Proposal 7, a shareholder proposal dealing with allegations of bias in its India operations. #7ReasonsForProposal7 1/6 Image In March 2022, @reporters_co, with released “Eyeball Politics”, a series of 4 investigative reports examining the murky world of political advertising on Meta platforms & how it can influence political outcomes in India. 2/6…
May 31, 2023 6 tweets 4 min read
The @Meta Annual General Meeting is on 31 May, 2023. In the days leading up to the meeting, we’re sharing 7 reasons to vote yes on Proposal 7, a shareholder proposal dealing with allegations of bias in its India operations. #7ReasonsForProposal7 1/6

Reason 6 👇 Image In March 2023, @WSJ published a report on Monu Manesar, a cow vigilante whose social media profile had videos of his team chasing suspected cow smugglers. The Report stated that human rights groups had warned Meta that such videos may trigger violence. 2/6…
May 30, 2023 8 tweets 5 min read
The @Meta Annual General Meeting is on 31 May, 2023.

In the days leading up to the meeting, we’re sharing 7 reasons to vote yes on Proposal 7, a shareholder proposal dealing with allegations of bias in its India operations. #7ReasonsForProposal7 1/8 Image In 2021, @FrancesHaugen left her job at @Meta, taking tens of thousands of pages of internal documents with her, which she leaked to @SECGov. These documents were the basis of investigations by @WSJ & a consortium of media organisations. 2/8…
May 30, 2023 7 tweets 7 min read
In April, @newslaundry & IFF brought together journalists & lawyers for our 2nd edition of @FoE_Con to discuss all things, uhm, "impolite". 🤭

Read our blog for a recap of FoE Con, our takeaways, & what lies ahead! 1/7… The response was overwhelming. We are so grateful to our #digitalrights community who came together for us! ❤️

@FoE_Con is an annual event, commemorating the historic Shreya Singhal v. Union of India judgement that upheld primacy of free speech & expression. 2/7
Apr 3, 2023 12 tweets 4 min read
On March 31, 2023, @CommonCauseInd & @LoknitiCSDS released the Status of Policing in India Report 2023 on ‘Surveillance and the Question of Privacy’. The report explores public opinions and experiences regarding digital surveillance in India. 1/12… The report finds that there is a high level of public support for certain forms of government surveillance but also reveals a lack of public awareness regarding critical issues such as the Pegasus scandal and the Right to Privacy case. 2/12
Mar 31, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
On March 17, 2023, the Punjab Govt issued an internet shutdown order that was subsequently extended by 3 days. In parallel, the Govt. of India made requests to suspend/ withhold social media accounts.

Read our response👇 1/4… IFF wrote to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, urging them to convene the Review Committee to consider the internet shutdown order that was first passed for one day & then extended by 3 days. 2/4
Feb 14, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
As DigiYatra begins to be rolled out over the country, claiming greater convenience for travellers, we take a step back to examine the consequences of using facial recognition to facilitate the ​​digital processing of passengers at the airports. 1/9… First, we analyse DigiYatra’s privacy policy, including what data is collected, for what purpose, with whom the data will be shared, what privacy mechanisms are in place, & how long the collected data will be stored. 2/9
Jan 21, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
Multiple news reports suggest that @MIB_India has ordered social media platforms to take down versions of a #BBCDocumentary titled “India: The Modi Question”.

The ministry has reportedly exercised emergency censorship powers under Rule 16 of the IT Rules, 2021.
As per unnamed sources, @YouTube and @Twitter have complied with this ban and taken down instances of the video and tweets with links to it.

Reports also suggest that the platforms have been asked to take down or block subsequent attempts to upload or link to the video.
Nov 28, 2022 14 tweets 4 min read
IFF submitted its comments to @NITIAayog on the 3rd draft discussion paper in their Responsible AI series on the use of facial recognition technology. This response was co-authored with Prof. @Anupam_Guha.
Read our submission 👇 1/14… First, the problems.
1️⃣ The discussion paper fails to assess the harms caused by the use of FRT by law enforcement, including how it violates the right to life, rights to dignity, to autonomy & to be forgotten, which all flow from the right to life. 2/14
Nov 18, 2022 10 tweets 4 min read
Short Statement: MeitY has released the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 (DPDPB) for public consultation. We encourage wide public participation and welcome any efforts to legally recognise data protection but have wide-ranging concerns. 1/n The DPDPB has shrunk previous drafts of data protection proposals from 90+ to 30 clauses. As per the explanatory memorandum this is to achieve simplicity in drafting, however has made the present version bereft of first principles at several places (eg. Clause 17). 2/n Image
Nov 18, 2022 6 tweets 3 min read
Transparency Time! In October, IFF filed 3 Right to Information applications & 1 first appeal. Read all about it in this month’s transparency report 👇 1/6… We received a significant response from @MLJ_GoI stating that they do not keep copies of the legal opinions sought from them. This is BIG. Basically, the ministerial equivalent of not keeping ANY of the receipts. 2/6…
Oct 11, 2022 11 tweets 5 min read
If you’ve been surfing on @Twitter in the past 24 hrs, you know that it has been quite a day for @Meta. From takedowns of @\cringearchivist content, Meta’s controversial XCheck programme, to “censor privileges” for BJP’s Amit Malviya, we cover it all in this 🧵.1/10 Let’s recap:

Instagram took down a video minutes after it was posted by the account, 'Superhumans of Cringetopia'. The grounds?: It violated Instagram's nudity & sexual content' guidelines.…

Oct 10, 2022 8 tweets 4 min read
Truecaller’s true colours revealed?

A report by @viceroyresearch alleges that @Truecaller (“TC”) isn’t as “privacy-focused” as it claims to be. It accuses TC of, among other things, collecting user data without obtaining their explicit consent. 1/8… TC seeks permission to access our contact list when we download it. This entire list of contacts, which could include you, is then put in an address book available to others. Thus, even if you haven’t downloaded TC, your data could still end up on their database. 2/8
Sep 22, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
We promised you a quick explainer on the Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022 yesterday & we’re here to deliver! It represents a missed opportunity for legislative reform to bring the Indian telecom sector into the 21st century. 1/5… Now every telecom service, including OTT communication services, will have to obtain a licence from the Central Govt. This includes WhatsApp, Signal, Jitsi, G-Meet etc.! A win for large telecom companies, a huge loss for user rights. 2/5
Sep 22, 2022 9 tweets 4 min read
Q: When did you last download an app with any idea of its impact on your privacy? (no cheating)
If you aren’t worried, you should be. Downloading apps can be like opening a can of worms

Here are 5 questions we think you need to ask to avoid the worms👇1/9… 1️⃣ Location. Location. Location.

It’s important to know where you’ve downloaded an app from. While the Google & Apple app stores have standards & regulations in place to ensure safety to an extent, 3rd party app stores may not & thus need greater scrutiny. 2/9