Clarifying its stand on intermediaries, a senior officer of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Friday said there was “no attempt to get into censorship”.
Speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) here on the issue of ‘Misinformation and Intermediary Liability’, Joint Secretary Gopalkrishna S said, “There is no attempt to get into censorship. Even intermediary themselves will not be keen to become censors.”
He said the idea with the new ‘Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules 2018’ was not to implement these rules at the cost of encryption or privacy.
“We have to strike a balance. I believe the solution has to come from tech companies,” he pointed, adding that the problems of misinformation, fake news, online trolling are not just being discussed in India, but have become a concern of every other country.
The MeitY Joint Secretary stressed that the idea was to look at accountability.
The new rules call for intermediaries to deploy “technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms,” to actively monitor content and this has raised censorship concerns.
The rules also include provisions for traceability of messages if required by an authority, which raises questions over the future of end-to-end encrypted products like WhatsApp in the country.
At the event, SFLC launched its report on the issue, titled, ‘Intermediary Liability in India: The Legal Landscape and Notable Developments’.