New Delhi, July 17 Amid complaints of social media giants promoting certain views to suit their business interests, BJP lawmaker in the Rajya Sabha, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on Wednesday demanded to bring a law to ensure that freedom of expression of people is not curtailed.
The legislator said that social media platforms amplify and suppress certain views using their complicated algorithm and technology. This curtails freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 in the Constitution.
“There is need for legal framework… Technology is growing very fast,” Chandrasekhar said during Zero Hour in the Upper House.
The MP also wanted to raise the issue of pink slips being given by a private channel but he was not allowed by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh strongly objected to it saying it is a clear conflict of interest as Chandrasekhar owns a TV channel.
“You confine to social media platform issue,” Naidu told Chandrasekhar.
Naidu also asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member to explain the algorithm bias. On this, Chandrasekhar elaborated and talked about how machine learning was not immune from human bias. He then sought legislation on the lines of the US.
Another BJP member in the House raised the issue of smart home devices posing big threat to privacy of people. He cited the recent case in Surat wherein a couple’s intimate moments were video-graphed by hackers using smart TV and uploaded on the internet.
He said that privacy is now a major concern and urged the government to take appropriate measures to address this.
Meanwhile, the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders demanded from the government to urgently bring data protection law. They also protested in the Parliament campus with placards in their hands. The leaders from West Bengal took on the government for sharing citizen data with private companies.
“The transport ministry earned Rs 65 crore by selling citizen’s data. An HRD Ministry order has sought to connect social media accounts of all higher education students with that of institutes. We strongly oppose this and demand a data protection law be brought,” said TMC MP Saugata Roy.