Andhra Pradesh government to set up Social Media Regulatory Authority

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The Andhra Pradesh government is likely to set up a Social Media Regulatory Authority (SMRA) to exercise greater control over social media.

Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government is likely to set up a Social Media Regulatory Authority (SMRA) to exercise greater control over social media platforms. The CM has asked a former DGP to prepare draft regulations on this and identify legal experts who are good at addressing issues related to the social media. Legislative affairs minister Yanamala Ramakri-shnudu would play a key role in designing the draft of this authority, according to sources.

In fact, the Information Technology Act, 2000, categorically makes the netizens liable for punishment in the case of posting any incriminating or illegal content on social media. In fact, the law has gone even further and recognises the netizens providing content on social media as a content service provider and network service provider. Hence, they are intermediaries under the law, according to a cyber law expert in the city police commissionerate.

“Our cyber law requires intermediaries, including users of social media, to exercise due diligence while they discharge their obligations under the law,” he observed. In the Shreya Singhal case, the Supreme Court has held that the intermediaries are duty-bound to oblige when they are called upon by any order of the government to remove or disable access to any information as well as provide relevant connected information pertaining to identity of the offenders, according to high court advocate Chandu Srinivasa Rao. However, he felt that the idea of setting up SMRA is ill-conceived. Any illegal or criminal activity done by any person on social media leaves an electronic footprint which can always be used for the purposes of identifying the real person and prosecuting him for the legal consequences, Chandu Srinivasa Rao observed.

The state government is also in consultations with cyber law experts as to how to address the social media menace that the CM and his family members, in particular, are facing. Though the move for the setting up SMRA is in the initial stage, the government is bent upon doing its best to regulate the social media through all possible means.

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