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Postpone meeting with Government to tackle Online Crimes, Twitter asks Madras HC

Postpone meeting with Government to tackle Online Crimes, Twitter asks Madras HC

Meera Emmanuel

After the Madras High Court directed that a meeting be convened between law enforcement agencies and social media companies to discuss ways to tackle online crime, Twitter has sought for a time extension to conduct the same.

In an affidavit filed by Paul Alsdorf, the authorised signatory for Twitter, the company has expressed difficulties in sending a suitable representative to attend the meeting on a date between May 20 and May 27, as originally scheduled. The affidavit, filed earlier this month, explains,

“…  since the Petitioner Company does not have any corporate presence in India, arrangements are underway to send the most suitable person, in terms of experience, knowledge, and language capability to attend this meeting on behalf of the Petitioner.

The affidavit goes on to state,

This being an extremely important meeting, the Petitioner is committed to depute the most suitable employee for this meeting who is well versed with the intricacies of this business and can represent the Petitioner in the best manner possible so as to ensure that the meeting is fruitful in all respects.

The most suitable person in this regard has been named as one, Chaitanya Ramachandran. Twitter has submitted that Ramachandran will be in a position to attend the meeting if it is held in the first week of June. If the meeting is not postponed to allow Ramachandran to attend it, it could render the purpose behind the meeting redundant, the affidavit notes.

It has also been emphasised that Twitter is extremely supportive of the cause of the said meeting, and that the time extension is being sought on bonafide grounds and not as a delaying tactic.

In April this year, the Madras High Court had ordered that the meeting be held between law enforcement agencies and the representatives of social media/online companies – Google, Youtube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. The meeting was to be chaired by the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary.

During this meeting, the participants are expected to look into such aspects as what kind of information can be made available by the companies, what kind of information should be made available to detect cybercrimes, the manner in which assistance in such cases may be sought etc.

The interim order was passed in a 2018 PIL filed to link Aadhaar with e-mail IDs and other online user accounts for easier detection of online crimes. The Court had rejected the prayer for Aadhaar linkage during the intial stages of hearing. However, the Bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad kept the matter pending to examine what measures were in place to counter such crime.

Read Twitter Affidavit: