Homelegal News

This proposed amendment to social media regulations could stir up another controversy

This proposed amendment to social media regulations could stir up another controversy

Mini

The government proposes to set up a Grievance Appellate Committee as an alternative for a user to appeal the decision of the Grievance Officer rather than directly going to a court of law. However, the user has the right to seek judicial remedy at any time. These amendments come against the backdrop of an appeal being heard by the Supreme Court against the application of the IT Rules.

This proposed amendment to social media regulations could stir up another controversy
The Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on June 1 proposed an amendment to Part I and II of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, or IT Rules 2021. The ministry has sought public input on the amendments till June 22.  
The amendments come against the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s hearing of a petition filed by Live Law against decisions taken by the government under the IT Rules 2021.
What are these amendments?
1. Through the amendments, MeitY seeks to set up a grievance appellate as an alternative for a user to file an appeal against the decision of the Grievance Officer rather than directly going to a court of law. That being said, appellants still have the option of approaching a court.
2. Before the proposed amendment, social media companies or service providers were required to publish prominently on their website or app the rules and usage of the platform. The proposed amendment now requires the platforms to ensure compliance by users.
3. The original rules restrained users from posting to these platforms illegal information, or posts that are aimed at defrauding or harming other users.
4. The amendment "shall take all reasonable measures to ensure accessibility of its services to users along with a reasonable expectation of due diligence, privacy and transparency; the intermediary shall respect the rights accorded to the citizens under the Constitution of India".
5. In the original rules the grievance officer must acknowledge a complaint — against suspension, removal or blocking of any user or account — or a request for the removal of data or account information within 24 hours and dispose of the complaint within 15 days and request for deletion within 72 hours.
6. If users are not happy with the decision of the Grievance Officer, they can approach the grievance redressal committee, instead of a court of law, within 30 days of receiving the order.
What are the implications?
Apar Gupta, a lawyer and Executive Director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, took to Twitter, laying out his apprehensions over the proposed amendments.
Gupta said the proposed amendments could dilute the Safe Harbour Rule, or Section 79 of the Information and Technology Act, under which social media intermediaries cannot be liable — legally or otherwise — for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted on its platform.
The proposed amendments state that such a call will be taken by the Grievance Redressal Committee, which will have ministerial and bureaucratic oversight, something Gupta fears could force the social media platforms to clamp down on free speech and ratchet up censorship.
In the latest notification, the government says citizens can submit suggestions to dhawal@meity.gov.in, notan.roy@meity.gov.in, by June 22. 
next story

Market Movers

Currency

CompanyPriceChng%Chng