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MP Calls For Review Of India’s Internet Control Rules

Jayant Chaudhary, a Member of Parliament from the Rashtriya Lok Dal, representing the Mathura Constituency, spoke out against the Indian governments draconian Internet Control Rules (IT Rules), in the recently concluded Lok Sabha session. According to a recently published transcript of the Lok Sabha session, on Tuesday, the 6th of September, Chaudhary pointed out the following:

– The 2011 Information Technology Rules also discriminate against the medium of dispersion of information
– The conditions mentioned in the rules (for removal of content), like blasphemous, libelous and disparaging information, are subjective and differ from the press Councils norms of journalistic conduct.
– The Reasonable Security Practices Rules allow Government agencies access to personal information from service providers through written complaints whereas where crimes requires warrants signed by magistrates.
– The rules curb freedom of speech and violate the IT Act which removed intermediary liability for content.

Frankly, these points have been made by us and other sections of the media for long, and even submissions by industry bodies raised some of these concerns. What Chaudhary pertinently points out is that such major changes should come through the act rather than the subordinate legislation, which leads us to the question – if these changes were to be made, why weren’t they included in the act itself? Why try and slip them in through the subordinate legislation.

Chaudhary has called for a review of the IT Rules. Given the opposition to the rules in their current form, what harm will it do for the government to put up this version of the rules for another round of consultation?

The text of Chaudhary’s talk (page 37 or 8600) can be read here, on Page 37 (or 8600).

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