Internet Governance Forum: What IT minister has to say on regulating Big Tech firms – Times of India

Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said that governments across the world have lagged behind in rulemaking for big technology players, such as Google, Apple and Meta, for their innovations that can be a cause of harm to society. He added that India is now the largest ‘connected’ nation globally but the internet has begun to represent risk.
“For too long governments of the world and indeed, IGF and most forums have lagged behind these big private platforms, big tech platforms in terms of the do’s and don’ts and the rulemaking that are required,” news agency PTI quoted the minister as saying.
“We treated them for very long as innovators and innovations rather than deal with them as innovations as well as those innovations potentially being able to cause harm and create other disruptions to society and people,” Chandrasekhar noted while speaking at the India Internet Governance Forum (IGF) hosted by FICCI.
Companies including Google, Meta and Apple have been under scrutiny for their practices. Last month, both Google and Meta were fined in India and the European Union (EU), respectively.
Internet posing safety and trust issues
While talking about the internet, Chandrasekhar said that it has been a force for good but now it has increasingly begun to represent risk, user harm and criminality.
He urged the government to address core issues such as the safety and trust of 1.2 billion Indians who are going to use the internet. “They are going to be the elderly, students, children, women, rural and urban. Therefore safety and trust online become very important policy duties on the part of the government to deliver to our citizens and of course accountability,” the minister said.

Legal policy frameworks
Chandrasekhar highlighted that the government is systematically building legal policy frameworks. “The consultation and the multi-stakeholder ecosystem that has been built around the Internet in India is helping us bridge these policies and build these laws with extensive consultation,” the minister said.
Chandrasekhar also told the media persons that the government expects technological innovations and updated regulatory policies to remain relevant.
Digital literacy initiative
Echoing the IT minister‘s words, IT Secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma emphasised that the Digital India program has augmented the country’s mission with digital literacy initiative skills. “We are looking at building laws which ensure the privacy, protection, data, security and safety of our citizens. We are also looking at how to create a trillion-dollar digital economy in the next three years,” Sharma was quoted as saying.

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