The IT rules apply to social media brokers, digital news publishers, and streaming services; its provisions are the subject of litigation in several high courts in India.

Rajya Sabha, MP for the Communist Party of India Binoy Viswam on Thursday filed a motion to cancel the rules for information technology (agent liability and code of ethics for digital media), 2021. Desh Deepak Verma, the secretary general of Lok Sabha, said in a Rajya Sabha bulletin that the motion was accepted, which means that he may go to Discussion come. Viswam’s application read:

“This House resolves that the Rules for Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), 2021, issued at Clause (z), (zg) of subsection (2) of Section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, published in the Gazette of India February 25, 2021, Vide Communication No. GSR 139 (E) dated February 25, 2021 and placed on the Chamber’s table on March 25, 2021, be annulled; and

This House recommends Lok Sabha that Lok Sabha agree to this proposal. ”(Links supplied)

Why it matters: Since the IT rules are confronted with legal challenges and setbacks from news organizations and social media companies, the review builds on how they have fundamentally changed the digital regulatory landscape within the framework of subordinate legislative powers. This motion, along with legal challenges, will test the robustness of the Internet regime in India.

MediaNama has asked Viswam for a comment. A publicly listed telephone number of the MP was unavailable at the time of publication of this report. Viswam is a former Minister for Forests and Housing in the Kerala Government. A MP from the Rajya Sabha, P. Rajeeve, applied in 2012 similar movement calls for the above rules on information technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries, 2011) to be repealed. Arun Jaitley, then opposition leader in the House of Lords, this year recommended Rajeeve for the motion, citing Parliament’s responsibility to oversee the subordinate laws. However, this application failed.

  • Matter not in Friday business: The charter motion that Maadhyam, a Twitter processor who follows parliamentary proceedings, said was seldom called, is not im Revised business list for Friday, indicating that the House of Lords of Parliament has yet to record it. “The chances are it will stay buried [the Business Advisory Committee]that it doesn’t prioritize the allotment of time, ”speculated the handle.

What the rules require and what concerns are there

Requirement: The IT rules require streaming services and digital news publishers to hire complaints officers and undergo a three-step complaint process with the government at the helm. Its provisions have been challenged by several news organizations and journalists, and the government has decided to refer these cases to the Supreme Court from supreme courts across the country.

Social media companies, on the other hand, are required to appoint a complaints officer and respond within 36 hours to block content after receiving an order Section 79 of the IT Act and requires major social media intermediaries (with more than 5 million users) to also appoint a nodal officer who will liaise with law enforcement and government and remove impersonated or sexual content within 24 hours.

To care: News organizations have previously argued in these cases that the rules are burdensome, that they interfere with freedom of expression and, perhaps most importantly, constitute a violation of the subordinate legislation; the rules were announced without parliamentary approval, which was necessary given the far-reaching power and scope of the law, which even the government’s own advisors had initially assessed.

Regardless, WhatsApp has questioned a “traceability” requirement in the rules that they say would break the service’s end-to-end encryption. By requiring traceability, the government sought to track down the originator of harmful messages, as in the case of fake news. The Kerala Supreme Court on July 9th granted the websites of television stations exoneration from any coercive measures taken by the government.

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