scorecardHere’s why Wikipedia is threatened by India's internet intermediary liability rules
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Here’s why Wikipedia is threatened by India's internet intermediary liability rules

Here’s why Wikipedia is threatened by India's internet intermediary liability rules
Tech2 min read
  • Wikimedia, which aims to provide access to free knowledge and information, has several problems with the bill.
  • It outlines issues with the setting up of a local India entity, filtering of content among other things.
  • Wikipedia, which allows users to create content online easily is also worried that the bill’s traceability requirements will pose as “a serious threat to freedom of expression”.
Wikimedia, the non-profit group that runs Wikipedia, is worried about India’s new data protection law. It has written to Indian IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad about its concerns.

Wikimedia, which aims to provide access to free knowledge and information, has a problem with the law which will force it to set up a local entity. Also, it will be subjected to filtering of content among other things.

“Yet, even with such an approach we remain concerned about requirements which encourage or necessitate automated filtering of user uploads, either explicitly or implicitly through short take-down times and could severely disrupt the availability and reliability of Wikipedia,” Amanda Keaton, general counsel, Wikimedia Foundation.

The organization had made its voice heard while the law was drafted, but remains disappointed that no action has been taken so far.

“We trust the Ministry has taken the valid concerns that we and many others have raised into account when revising the draft rules. We encourage the Ministry to release the current draft and make sure there is a robust and informed debate about how the internet should be governed in India,” wrote Keaton.

The Data Protection Bill requires companies to set up local data entities in India – which is an ‘unrealistic burden’.

“While it may be possible for larger companies to comply with local incorporation rules, it would be an unrealistic burden for a global nonprofit with limited resources to comply with local incorporation requirements,” Keaton wrote in the letter.

Wikipedia, which allows users to create content online easily is also worried that the bill’s traceability requirements will pose as “a serious threat to freedom of expression”.

India is one of Wikipedia’s leadership markets. In November, Indians visited Wikipedia over 771 million times which is its fifth highest number of views. The Data Protection Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the winter session of the parliament.

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