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Politics

Bengal Planning Law to Deal With Online Harassment With Apps Like Bulli Bai: Derek O'Brien

'I'm not going to wait around for the central government to make a legislation on that,' the TMC MP said.

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New Delhi: The West Bengal government is seriously considering a state-level law to deal with online harassment along the lines of the Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai apps, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien has told Forbes India.

In the interview, the TMC leader spoke about the alleged inadequacies of the Data Protection Bill, which he and party MP Mahua Moitra submitted a dissent note to.

When asked as to whether there was anything in the proposed bill that would allow women – the Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai apps target Muslim women and represent them derogatorily – to seek recourse against the “incursion into their privacy and non-consensual use of their personal data,” O’Brien said that he does not have faith in the Union government.

“I’m not going to wait around for the central government to make a legislation on that. We are going to consider bringing something – consider at this stage – like this in the West Bengal assembly. States have to take a lead. I will not wait for the central government to come up with its own version – which it never will. That’s why the West Bengal government is seriously considering this,” he said.

The ongoing investigation into the Bulli Bai app has revealed that around 30 Twitter handles were misused for uploading the morphed pictures of Muslim women for their purported “auction”, the Delhi police said recently. Some arrests have been made in the case.

During the interrogation of main accused Niraj Bishnoi (21), believed to be the creator and alleged mastermind of the Bulli Bai application, it emerged that he used to interact with various virtual identities on social media in an effort to gain publicity for the app.

Bishnoi, who was arrested in Assam, had disclosed that he was in touch with the person behind the Twitter handle @sullideals, the alleged creator of the ”Sulli Deals” app that was hosted on GitHub in July last year, police had said.

The same interview also touches upon Tek Fog – an app software with hacking capacities used by the Bharatiya Janata Party as part of a very wide social media campaign. After news on Tek Fog was broken by The Wire, O’Brien and Congress leader and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, Anand Sharma, asking that the panel discuss the revelations.