IT Parliamentary Committee questions MEITY, MHA on app ban, Aarogya Setu

After a spot of 4 months, punctuated by Chairperson Shashi Tharoor’s repeated requires digital conferences, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Data Expertise lastly met in particular person on July 14. Of the 29 members, solely eight members attended the assembly. Representations from MEITY and Ministry of Dwelling Affairs have been heard on Aarogya Setu and cybersecurity, Tharoor tweeted. It’s understood that the ban on 59 ‘Chinese’ apps was extensively mentioned on the assembly, which lasted virtually three hours.

Which MPs attended the assembly? From Tharoor’s tweet, other than him, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (BJP), Tejasvi Surya (BJP), Santosh Pandey (BJP), Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (BJP), and Sanjay Seth (BJP) attended the assembly. The opposite two MPs in attendance have been — Nishikant Dubey (BJP) and Anil Agarwal (BJP). Tharoor tweeted that many who wished to take part have been prevented from doing so by their respective state’s quarantine guidelines. Amar Patnaik, member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Private Knowledge Safety Invoice, had instructed MediaNama of the identical constraint that may stop him from attending the JPC’s assembly on July 17.

What was mentioned?

Two sources, on the situation of anonymity, instructed MediaNama that representatives from the MHA and MEITY instructed the MPs that the request to ban the 59 Chinese language apps got here from the MHA and MEITY applied it. The preliminary authorities announcement of ban on apps had stated that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre inside the MHA had really useful blocking these apps and that these have been blocked beneath Part 69A of the Data Expertise Act.

Tharoor requested representatives from MHA and MEITY in regards to the causes for banning the apps however was instructed by Dubey that since it’s a nationwide safety situation, the MPs couldn’t ask extra questions than the ministries have been keen to reply. It seems that the seven MPs from BJP have been in concurrence about not asking extra questions associated to this.

Tharoor singled out scanning app Cam Scanner, which is without doubt one of the 59 apps that was banned, saying that it’s utilized by Gujarat Police, Maharashtra Police, and CBI, one of many sources instructed us. Thus, even when the app is banned now, the info has already gone to China, Tharoor stated. In response, Dubey quipped in jest that since these legislation enforcement businesses examine criminals, it’ll scare China since India has circumstances with 300 murders, 400 murders, circumstances associated to Dawood Ibrahim, thereby creating psychological stress on the nation. This brought about everybody within the room to snort, we’re instructed.

Verma proposed that PUBG must be banned given its have an effect on on the youth. The opposite BJP MPs voiced their help for the transfer.

Representatives from MEITY additionally talked about how Aarogya Setu has been used to take care of the pandemic. They, in line with the supply, stated that issues round privateness are misguided and that the app is totally protected.

Who else was there?

Further Secretary of the MHA was additionally current. In one other photograph that Tharoor tweeted, MEITY Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney is seen addressing the committee members as a “witness”. Rakesh Maheshwari, Senior Director and Group Coordinator, Cyber Legislation and e-Safety on the Ministry of Electronics and Data Expertise (MEITY), and the designated officer for implementation of Part 69A blocking orders is sitting behind him. Vikash Chourasia, Scientist C at MEITY and nodal officer for the info safety framework for India, can be seen.

MyGov CEO Abhishek Singh, who can be the general public face of central authorities’s contact tracing app Aarogya Setu, can be seen within the photograph.

***Replace (2:23 pm): Up to date with extra particulars from the assembly. Initially printed on July 15 at 1:20 pm.

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