Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology invites comments on draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021

Team SoOLEGAL 5 Jul 2022 3:11pm

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology invites comments on draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021

New Delhi: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has released draftt amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, for public comment. The 2021 Rules establish due diligence requirements for intermediaries seeking to be exempt from liability for third-party content. Intermediaries are entities that store or transmit data on behalf of others. They include social media platforms, ecommerce businesses, and internet service providers.

The following are the key proposed amendments:

Obligations of intermediaries: The 2021 Rules require intermediaries to "publish" their rules and regulations, privacy policies, and user agreements in order for their services to be accessed or used. The Rules specify the types of content that users are permitted to create, upload, or share. According to the Rules, intermediaries must "inform" users about these restrictions. Proposed amendments seek to broaden intermediaries' obligations to include:

  1. "Ensuring compliance" with rules and regulations, privacy policies, and user agreements, and

  2. "Causing users not to" create, upload, or share prohibited content.

Mechanism for contesting grievance officer rulings: Under the 2021 Rules, intermediaries must name a grievance officer to handle complaints about rule violations. The proposed amendments include a procedure for appealing grievance officers' judgments. The central government will establish a Grievance Appellate Committee to hear appeals against grievance officers' judgments. The Committee will have a chairperson and other members who will be selected by notification from the central government. The Committee must decide on appeals in 30 days or less.

Prompt removal of prohibited content: The Rules require intermediaries to acknowledge complaints about Rule violations within 24 hours and to resolve complaints within 15 days. The proposed changes require that complaints about the removal of specific prohibited content be addressed within 72 hours.

Comments are invited until July 6, 2022.

Tagged: IT Rules  
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