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The Center requested that all accounts be blocked: Twitter in Karnataka High Court

The Union government requested that Twitter block the whole accounts of holders rather than simply their tweets because of their political content, Twitter informed the Karnataka High Court on Monday.

Arvind Datar, a senior attorney for Twitter, claimed that the microblogging platform was asked to block whole accounts even though Section 69A of the IT Act only allowed for the blocking of material via Blocking Orders.

Additionally, he said that between 50 and 60 percent of the tweets that the Union government had asked Twitter to delete as part of the directives were ‘harmless’ or offensive-free. He stated that there was no rationale for censoring these tweets and that Twitter’s business would be impacted by such demands.
Datar asked why it was being told to block material when the media could report it and questioned the legitimacy of the Blocking Orders referring to specific tweets on farmers’ agitations and suspected Covid-19 malfeasance. The Central government had issued orders asking Twitter to block certain accounts, URLs, and tweets. Twitter had filed a petition in the High Court challenging those orders.

The Information Technology (Procedures and Safeguards for Blocking of Access to Information by Public) Rules, 2009, were used by the Union government to pass a number of blocking orders. The petition questioned the legality of these blocking orders.

From February 2, 2021, until February 28, 2022, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) issued numerous blocking orders that Twitter contested.

According to Twitter, under specific provisions of the Information Technology Act, orders were granted to prevent the public from seeing 1,474 accounts/URLs, 175 tweets, and other information, including the suspension of whole accounts on Twitter. MEITy had submitted a 101-page declaration of opposition to Twitter’s petition on September 1.


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