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Indian Government Clarifies On IT Rules; Not Enough

So it's taken two years for the Indian Government to clarify what it meant by the IT Rules. It's a we-said-this-but-actually-we-meant-something-else moment for the Department of Information Technology. A notification put up recently on the website of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology states that when the government said in the IT Rules that Intermediaries"shall act within thirty six hours and where applicable, work with user or owner of such information to disable such information that is in contravention of sub-rule (2)", by the term "act" they meant that the Intermediary "shall respond or acknowledge to the complainant within thirty six hours of receiving the complaint/grievances about any such information as mentioned in sub-rule (2) of Rule 3 and initiate appropriate action as per law." There's an additional clarification, which is - from what I remember - not contained in the rules, and says that "the Grievance Officer of the intermediary shall redress such complaints promptly but in any case within one month from the date of receipt of complaint in accordance with sub-rule (11) of Rule 3." This was the clarification that was given to the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation (the IT Rules are a subordinate legislation), and in opinion, this doesn't change the status of the IT Rules. What's missing? Changes to terms, to bring in specificity, increase transparency, establish a recourse, and limit the actions of intermediaries. We've explained these in detail here. The first reaction of most intermediaries which receive a complaint will be to…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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