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No clarity on cyber laws

DECCAN CHRONICLE | AYESHA MINHAZ
Published Oct 13, 2015, 7:35 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 12:25 pm IST
Cyber law experts say new law is needed for social media administrators
Representational image
 Representational image
HyderabadShould a Facebook page or WhatsApp group administrator be punished for objectionable material that someone else has posted? Recently a Facebook user from the city had sent “objectionable” messages and harassed a girl using the FB messenger service. He had stumbled upon the girl’s profile in the group, Halal Foodies of Hyderabad, and had sent Dubsmash videos and messages, which the girl found offending.
 
When the issue was brought to the notice of the administrator, the user was removed from the group and the issue was left at that. “I spoke to the girl and removed the offender from the group. When asked for an opinion, a majority of the members voted for the same. We can pin up as many rules as possible, but it is impossible to censor what others post. All an admin can do is remove the post,” said the group’s administrator, Mr Adil Siddiqui.
 
“Although, we don't take up such cases voluntarily, if the victim complains, apart from the accused, the group admin too would be asked to give an explanation,” said an official from Cyber Cell, Hyderabad. In the light of recent arrests of WhatsApp admins of a group in which abusive messages about Prime Minister Narendra Modi were posted post the Dadri incident, it is still unclear how a WhatsApp group or Facebook page admin can be penalised for something he or she has no control over. Cybercrime investigator Mr Dhanya Menon said, “If there is an administrator for a group on social networking sites or messaging services, it only means that he/she is taking charge of what will go on in that group. Definitely the person will be held responsible as per the current laws until and unless the court orders otherwise.”
 
While cyber experts call for a new set of rules, the existing law is outdated. They say that "objectionable content" will remain an ambiguous term and will differ from case to case.
 
Two detained for spreading rumors:
 
Two youngsters from the city were detained on Monday by the Rein Bazaar Police for spreading false rumors over WhatsApp about the “death of AIMIM Member of Legislative Assembly Mumtaz Ahmed Khan”. Aggrieved by the rumors, supporters of Ms Khan lodged a complaint at the Rein Bazaar police station, demanding action against the youngsters for “offending the sentiments of the people”.
 
While the youths have been detained, the police isn’t sure whether the case falls under the definition of "sharing objectionable information”. “We are looking into this matter. Most probably, the deputy commissioner of police will initiate action or issue a statement after all the aspects are studied,” said the Rein Bazaar SHO. The Hyderabad Cyber Crime Cell officials said they weren't aware of the incident and would look into the issue if contacted.
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Location: Telangana




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