On February 25, 2021, the Central Government issued the new Rules (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, 2021) replacing the existing Intermediary Guidelines Digital Information Technology 2011.
Internet social media such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook were urged to make various changes by May 25 to comply with the new digital media rules. It is said that if such changes are not made, they may be banned from operating in India. But so far none of the sites, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, have complied with the new rules.
In this context, the new regulations are intended to deny the people’s basic right to privacy and strengthen the purpose of central gov. surveillance. Apart from these new provisions of the Indian constitution is hostile to democracy, which is attempting to transform the Internet usage to the negativity of the Internet Freedom Foundation is expressed.
In the absence of a strong data protection act in India, if the registration of a person on a social networking site is prohibited by the government as “illegal”, the registrar of that data must be identified by the specified social media administrator within 36 hours.
Furthermore, with regard to digital media organizations, the provisions state that “the central government has the right to remove any news item under section 69A of the Information Technology Act if it is considered objectionable from the point of view of law and order, sovereignty, integrity or friendly relations with neighbouring countries are featured. All of this is detrimental to the fundamental right to an opinion.
Youturn has already published news about the impact of these new rules on the Internet and OTT platforms.
It is relevant to note that at least six writ petitions have been filed against this in three different High Courts of India due to excessive controversy over these provisions.
What are the new rules?
Under the 2011 rules, a relevant officer will be responsible for receiving and resolving complaints if an Internet user makes any complaints about its terms. Now, the Grievance Officer is responsible for acknowledging complaints within 24 hours and resolving them within a reduced timeline of 15 days.
According to the 2011 rules, intermediaries (social networking sites) work within 36 hours to remove records that are deemed illegal by the government and work with such registrants if the appropriate circumstances arise. But the new rules require intermediaries to complete the deregistration process under Section 79 (3) of the IT Act within 36 hours. In addition, the ISP must provide information about the person who registered it or provides the required assistance to the law enforcement department within 72 hours of the investigation.
Intermediaries will be prosecuted under the provisions of the IT Act and the Indian Penal Code for non-compliance with the above procedures.
On top of all this, there are a number of additional adaptations to social media under Rule 4, the Intermediary Rules. There are some complex rules in the interim rules that will come into force on May 25th. They are Rules 4 (2) and 4 (4).
Under Rule 4 (2), notable social media intermediaries that provide messaging services (for example WhatsApp) must implement a method of locating the originator of the news. This would have a serious impact on the fundamental freedoms and privacy rights of all citizens. This will limit security features such as end-to-end encryption. It can be used to track one’s personal conversations. There are rules in these new mechanisms that can give too much power to a large number of states like this.
Internet usage in India is mostly about social web applications for most people. It is undeniable that social networking sites offer the opportunity to represent people’s day to day lifestyles such as reading, chatting, reading news, staying connected, discussing various topics and recording their views on various events, and asking for help in times of emergency and disaster.