Country in Focus: India
Building upon the “Notable Legislation” section of CNTI’s issue primers, find more information here about recent and proposed legislation in key countries across our issue areas. These pages add additional information at the country level where there has been a high level of legislative activity requiring more detail or context.
India’s government has expanded its digital censorship efforts since 2019, including through legislation, internet shutdowns, platform bans and heightened scrutiny of platforms. The Indian government abruptly banned TikTok in June 2020, citing issues of privacy and national sovereignty. In 2021, an executive order introduced sweeping internet regulations forcing technology companies to comply with government surveillance and censorship requirements and undermining user rights. In particular, it targeted end-to-end encryption protocols used by platforms like WhatsApp, requiring messaging apps to trace a message’s “first originator” to reveal the identities of senders. As we note earlier in this primer, these bans threaten free expression and an open internet.
In 2022, India’s cybersecurity agency (CERT-In) implemented new regulations on national security grounds requiring the retention of customer data by VPN, web and cloud service providers for five years, leading some VPN providers to announce withdrawal of their services in the country. This system restricts a free flow of information between India and the rest of the world.
In 2023, the Indian government issued legal notices pressuring Twitter to block accounts critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government based on claims that they violated India’s Information Technology Act, making the accounts inaccessible in India. New regulations were also enacted in April 2023 requiring platforms to remove content deemed false or misleading about the Indian government by a Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology-appointed body.