The San Francisco-based company filed a petition in the High Court of Karnataka, a state in southwestern India, on Tuesday, according to a list reviewed online by CNN Business.
Twitter declined to comment on the matter.
But a source familiar with the matter said the company had decided to challenge some government orders because they “demonstrate an excessive use of powers and are disproportionate”.
“Authorities target people for content posted online and regularly bully web platforms and social media services into complying with its censorship,” said Raman Jit Singh Chima, senior international lawyer and policy director for Asia-Pacific at the digital rights advocacy group Access Now.
Chima and other free speech advocates have accused the government of trying to censor journalists, protest groups and opposition lawmakers with its blocking orders, which are rarely made public.
“Today, Twitter is standing up for the people and doing what the government should be doing: protecting our rights,” he added.
India’s technology ministry threatened Twitter last month with “serious consequences,” including criminal charges against its executives, if the company failed to comply with the agency’s orders to remove certain tweets and block posts. accounts, the source said.
Although the company blocked access to the content in India at the moment, he is seeking judicial review of some of the orders. The company believes they violate the country’s technology laws and threaten free speech, according to the source.
He added that all platforms operating in the country “have [an] unambiguous obligation to comply with our laws and rules.”
High stakes showdown
Twitter’s lawsuit is the latest showdown in a growing contentious relationship between Silicon Valley tech companies and one of their biggest markets. India’s ruling party has stepped up its crackdown on social media and messaging apps since last year.
Last year, U.S. tech companies repeatedly voiced concerns that the country’s tech rules could infringe on privacy, usher in mass surveillance and hurt businesses in the world’s fastest-growing digital market. world. India says it is trying to maintain national security.
The case is ongoing, a company spokesperson told CNN Business on Wednesday.
Twitter also raised concerns about IT rules last year and said it planned “to advocate for changes to elements of those regulations that impede free and open public conversation.”
In its lawsuit this week, Twitter did not challenge India’s technology law, but said the government’s blocking orders were “disproportionate in several instances”, according to the source.
Still, some believe the company could have gone further.
“They narrowly challenged the Indian government’s orders in these specific cases, instead of challenging the Indian government’s lack of accountability that the IT law allows,” said Nikhil Pahwa, founder of Delhi-based tech website MediaNama.
“Twitter had the opportunity to do a lot more and they failed to make meaningful and substantial changes,” he added.
— Swati Gupta and Esha Mitra contributed to this report.
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