Mozilla, the Wikimedia Foundation, and the now Microsoft-owned GitHub have written an open letter (pdf) to RS Prasad, the Union Minister of Electronics and IT, outlining their concerns with respect to the newly proposed Intermediary Liability guidelines. These 3 organisations together have “tens of millions” of users across India. Their letter states that while the three organisations support making the internet a safer place, the current proposal “takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet from an open platform for creation, collaboration, access to knowledge, and innovation to a tool of automated censorship and surveillance of its users.” Its concerns about the proposed intermediary liability rules are: Purging content and censorship The letter states that proactive purging of unlawful content or liability on behalf of its users upends the balance which holds bad actors liable, and companies are liable only when they are aware of such acts. New rules would place a “tremendous and in many cases fatal burden” on online intermediaries. This is not sustainable for a community or a startup, while large platforms which will be able to comply will be “incentivised to over-censor and take down lawful content in order to avoid the threat of liability and litigation.” This filtering will “hamper the diversity of online discourse and chill free expression.” Surveillance on internet services The new rules will “significantly expand” surveillance requirements by monitoring postings of all users as well as handover info about content “senders and receivers” to the government. We need strong…
Mozilla, Wikimedia and Github urge IT Min RS Prasad to abandon proposed Intermediary Liability guidelines
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