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Centre begins talks for brand spanking new IT legislation, seems at stalking to social media

MONTHS AFTER its new guidelines for social media intermediaries beneath the IT Act of 2000 triggered a faceoff with tech giants Fb and Twitter, the Centre has began a recent spherical of consultations for a totally new IT legislation “to cope with current and future circumstances”, The Indian Specific has learnt.
In February, the Ministry of Electronics and Info Know-how (MeitY) had launched stringent guidelines beneath the prevailing IT Act for social media intermediaries, which was challenged by a number of stakeholders in several excessive courts. Each the Madras and the Bombay Excessive Courts have stayed operation of key elements of the principles. The Bombay Excessive Courtroom noticed that the brand new guidelines are “manifestly unreasonable and transcend the IT Act, its goals and provisions”.
Senior authorities officers instructed The Indian Specific that the brand new legislation, when it’s put in place, “will subsume all these guidelines”, together with the establishing of a grievances redressal and compliance mechanism, and officers. “Our aim is to make sure compliance. If there may be compliance with out litigation, why not do this?” a senior official stated.
Nonetheless, the official stated, there could also be some tweaks to take away any legal legal responsibility on the grievance and compliance officers appointed by intermediaries.
The brand new Act can be more likely to comprise provisions that cowl “newer features of expertise”, resembling blockchain, bitcoin and darkish web, amongst others.
“The previous IT Act of 2000 was drawn up primarily protecting in thoughts prevention of straightforward fraud, blocking of internet sites and unlawful content material of various sorts that existed then. Quite a bit has modified. It could not make sense to amend the previous Act. We’d reasonably introduce a brand new legislation to cope with current and future circumstances which will come up,” an official stated.
The brand new legislation, sources stated, will outline numerous types of on-line sexual harassment, resembling stalking, bullying, morphing of images, and different strategies, whereas additionally laying out clear tips on punishment for these offences, the officers stated.

“Proper now, there is no such thing as a authorized definition of what consists of on-line bullying, or stalking, or the precise penal provision for different types of sexual harassment resembling making undesirable feedback, morphing images, releasing or posting non-public images with out somebody’s consent. The intermediaries are doing it, however it’s on a case-to-case foundation strategy. A pan-India legislation is required,” an official stated.
The brand new IT Act will even improve the onus on intermediaries for the content material current and posted on their platform. “The safety that Part 79 (of the present IT Act) affords is just too wide-ranging. A social media middleman can not declare safety if it doesn’t proactively work on eradicating unlawful content material on its platform resembling porn, nudity, or messages that facilitate terror and disruption,” an official stated.
One other main change, which can additionally characteristic within the new Knowledge Safety Legislation that’s within the works, is a strict ‘age-gating’ coverage, which would require the consent of oldsters when kids join social media web sites. This plan has been opposed by social media intermediaries however officers stated the Authorities desires to make sure that kids under 18 are “protected and really feel secure on the web”.

Earlier this 12 months, the IT Ministry’s new guidelines for social media intermediaries had led to a standoff with Fb and Twitter with each lastly appointing the grievance and compliance personnel mandated but in addition approaching courtroom.
The Ministry had additionally requested these platforms to submit month-to-month reviews on complaints obtained from customers and motion taken. A 3rd requirement was for fast messaging apps to make provisions for monitoring the originator of a message.

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