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Newly Proposed Data Protection Bill Could Change the Way Tech Companies Collect Data

Privacy has become a major issue in the country and around the world as of late with the massive spread of fake news and the circulation of the same affecting the socio-political environment. However, in India, the government is actively looking for ways to mitigate the damage that fake news can do and how to curb the problems that social media can present for society. To pull this off, the government has issued a new proposed privacy bill that might ask the social media sites to ask for an identity verification option, as per the government sources who talked to Reuters. These new requirements might pose some unique complications related to policy and technical issues for companies like TikTok, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram who have millions of users onboard their platforms.

Government to Ask Sites to Verify Profiles of Users

If this method is to be implemented, then the social media sites will have to set up a verification mechanism which the users would be able to use to verify their identities. This would be of a little resemblance to the blue tick, which is a popularly known common verification method for the celebrities and notable personalities who use these social media platforms. However, as per the sources, this verification would be kept optional for the users. The new bill is called the Personal Data Protection Bill, and it is creating waves on the Internet and in the tech industry as the stakeholders of the sector wait for its drafting. This bill is slated to change how the industry stores the data of the Indian consumers.

The latest draft of the bill, which brings the verification requirement would be the most audacious step all over the world to curb the spread of fake news. It is worth noting that the problem of fake news is spread more by fake accounts than any other. An IT ministry official told that the idea with this new draft of the Data Protection Bill is to curb the spread of fake news and online trolling which seem to be the most rampant form of cybercrime.

Companies Resisting New Verification Feature

It is also worth noting that on Wednesday, the cabinet cleared the Data Protection Bill and now it will be moved to the parliament for a vote. However, if the experts are to be believed then before passage, the bill is likely to be put in front of a review panel for further scrutiny and changes. According to data provided by IndiaSpend, fake news has led to the death of more than 30 people in India since 2017. Although, all the efforts and push from the government have not been in vain.

The Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp also introduced a frequently forwarded limit on its platform to curb the spread of fake news and to limit the people from rampantly forwarding any sensitive and sensational material online over the messaging platform. However, Facebook has resisted the idea that the introduction of such a feature would present problems in some other countries where the people would struggle to provide sufficient documentation. As per the companies who are resisting the introduction of such a feature, identity verification would bring in more confidence in the validity of information coming from these verified accounts, but it would not entirely eliminate fake accounts.

Arpit Sharma

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Arpit Sharma