The central government in the Parliament said Friday that it has noted the news articles about the alleged App, namely, ‘Tek Fog’ that has been used to manipulate social media platforms and that Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has tried to locate the app on prominent App Stores and APK Store, but could not find the app.
Answering a question posed by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha on whether the government has or intends to take action against Tek Fog App, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar also added that this Ministry is not aware of any technical vulnerability that makes social media intermediaries susceptible to manipulation as reported in the news articles.
In a written reply, Chandrasekhar informed the session that the government is "committed to ensure that the Internet in India is Open, Safe & Trusted and Accountable for all users. As internet expands there are many benefits experienced by the citizens."
The minister's answer comes in the backdrop of a report on news portal 'The Wire' alleging that people associated with the ruling BJP's IT cell were purportedly using the app to take control of inactive WhatsApp accounts, send messages to frequently contacted numbers, and "hijack" trending topics on social media platforms.
Government is well aware of growing phenomena of users harms caused by misuse of various social media platforms/intermediaries by some users which also includes cybercrimes related to identity theft, he further stated.
The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 has adequate provisions to deal with any such cybercrimes, where sections 66C and 66D of the Act specifically provide punishment for identity theft and for cheating by personation by using computer resource, respectively.
In addition, any hacking or suspected hacking attempt can also be reported to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.
Elaborating on the government's I-T rules, the minister stated that Rule 3(2)b of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 also provides for immediate removal of any imagery which is in the nature of impersonation in an electronic form from an Intermediary platform.
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