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Proactive monitoring, traceability of original sender to be in IT rules

Responding to a calling attention notice in Rajya Sabha last year on the “misuse of social media platforms and spreading of fake news”, the Ministry, in December last, released a draft of its intermediary guidelines amendments.

Written by Karishma Mehrotra | Published: November 22, 2019 1:32:44 am
sadhvi pragya, Parliamentary Consultative Committee, sadhvi pragya Parliamentary Consultative Committee, parliamentary committees In an ongoing Supreme Court case involving WhatsApp and Facebook, the IT Ministry has submitted that they will update these laws by January 15.

The IT Ministry, in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, said it will amend the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 notified under Section 79 of the IT Act, including mandates for intermediaries to trace the original sender of messages and proactive monitoring. The Ministry received 171 comments and 80 counter comments on the draft of the amendments, according to the Ministry’s response to a question by Congress MP P Bhattacharya.

“Key features of proposed amendments in the due diligence to be followed by intermediaries are: (i) periodically informing the users for compliance of rules & regulations, users agreement & privacy policy, (ii) traceability of the originator of the information, (iii) significant intermediaries having more than 50 lakh users to have an office in India and to appoint a nodal officer for liaisoning with law enforcement agencies, (iv) removal of malicious content in 24 hours upon receiving a court order or when notified by appropriate government, (v) deployment of technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content, etc,” the IT Ministry response stated.

Responding to a calling attention notice in Rajya Sabha last year on the “misuse of social media platforms and spreading of fake news”, the Ministry, in December last, released a draft of its intermediary guidelines amendments.

The draft stated that the intermediary must provide information requested by the government within 72 hours, and “enable tracing out of such originator of information on its platform as may be required by government agencies who are legally authorised”.

“The Intermediary shall deploy technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content,” it further stated.

In an ongoing Supreme Court case involving WhatsApp and Facebook, the IT Ministry has submitted that they will update these laws by January 15.

When the draft law was released, WhatsApp said publicly that, if notified, they would require a complete re-design of the platform, threatening their highly-coveted encrypted features.

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