#NewsBytesExplainer: New draft amendments to IT Rules, 2021
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has published a fresh draft of amendments to the Information Technology Rules, 2021. The draft proposes the creation of government-appointed appeal committees that will be able to veto content-moderation decisions taken by social media intermediaries like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The fresh draft was issued by the government after the earlier proposal was withdrawn.
- According to authorities, the government has received multiple complaints from people who have been removed from social media platforms without being given the opportunity to justify their acts.
- They said that previous IT guidelines, which were enacted in May of last year, contained significant loopholes.
- As a result, the proposed modifications are likely to close such gaps.
The draft recommends that the government establish Grievance Appellate Committees to evaluate and even reverse content moderation decisions made by social media corporations. It means if a user is dissatisfied with the company's content moderation decision, they can appeal it to the planned committee. Currently, the only way for a user to challenge a company's content judgements is to go to court.
The new proposal also suggests those grievance officers chosen by social media corporations be given more responsibility. It states that a grievance officer will have 72 hours to handle a user complaint about information that is "patently false," infringes on copyright, and undermines India's integrity, among other things. According to existing laws, grievance officials have 15 days to act on and resolve customer concerns.
The minister stated that the proposed changes will guarantee that the "constitutional rights of Indian citizens" are not violated by any big tech platform. The new rules will ensure new accountability standards. "The IT Rules, 2021 provide for a robust grievance redressal mechanism. However, there have been many instances that grievance officers of intermediaries do not address the grievances satisfactorily," it said.
As per The Indian Express report, concerns have been raised regarding the government overturning content judgments made by social media sites under the idea to establish government-appointed committees. In response to the idea, the Delhi-based digital rights group Internet Freedom Foundation stated, "The proposal, without any legislative basis, seeks to subject content on social media to the direct scrutiny of the government".