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Proposed Intermediary Liability Rules threat to privacy and free speech, global coalition tells MeitY

“We respectfully call on you to withdraw the draft amendments proposed to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules in December. As published, the draft amendments would erode digital security and undermine the exercise of human rights globally.” A global coalition of 31 civil society organizations and technology experts has called on MeitY to reconsider the proposed amendments to the Intermediary Liability Rules, terming them a threat to privacy and free speech. In a letter to the ministry dated March 15, the coalition said that the proposed amendments "would harm fundamental rights and the space for a free internet, without necessarily addressing the problems that the ministry aims to resolve.” Some of the signatories are Centre for Internet and Society, SFLC.in, Internet Freedom Foundation, Government Accountability Project and Human Rights Watch, among others (A copy of the letter is attached at the bottom). The letter breaks down its reasons for opposing the proposed amendments: 1. Traceability would undermine security, lead to surveillance Under the proposed guidelines, intermediaries would have to ensure ‘traceability’ of messages by providing information related to its originator and receivers. This, the letter argues, would force intermediaries to undermine the security of of their platforms and create a surveillance regime. “Undermining security features to ensure traceability would affect all users of that platform, not just those that are the subjects of the information request,” the letter reads. “... such wide and ambiguous powers... on interception of communications would directly harm the fundamental right to privacy of Indians and…

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