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The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021

They were notified on February 25, 2021, under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and replaced the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.

About the act:

  • Who are intermediaries?

    • Intermediaries are the entities which store or transmit data on behalf of other persons. They include internet or telecom service providers, online marketplaces, and social media platforms such as facebook etc.

  • Rules and regulations under the act:

    • Steps that needs to be taken by Intermediaries

      • They must inform users about rules and regulations, privacy policy, and terms and conditions for usage of its services,

      • They must block access to unlawful information within 36 hours after government/ court’s order

      • They must retain information collected for the registration of a user for a time period of 180 days after cancellation or withdrawal of registration.

      • They must report cybersecurity incidents and share related information with the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.

    • Rules for significant social media intermediaries: 

      • Significant social media intermediaries are those which have a registered user base above a threshold of more than 50 lakh registered users.

      • These intermediaries have additional responsibilities to appoint a chief compliance officer who will ensure compliance with IT Act and appoint a grievance redressal officer.

    • Rules for Messenger Social Media Platform:

      • Such intermediaries should enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its platform and the identity of originator should be disclosed if required by an order from the Court or the government in case it relates to sovereignty and security of the state, public order, or sexual violence.

      • If the first originator of the message is located outside India, the first originator of that information within India will be considered as the first originator.

  • Issue:

    • Social media giants like Facebook and WhatsApp have not complied with the rules.  They have said they will comply.

    • Further, whatsapp have taken these norms to the judiciary as these norms are designed in such a way that it will lead to the breach of end to end encryption policy which is a cornerstone to safeguard individual privacy.

    • The experts have highlighted compliance with these norms will take away the safe harbors which these companies enjoy in India.

1st June 2021: News & Resources
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1st June 2021

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