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#NAMA: Why traceability, or some form of accountability, has become necessary

"Traceability is just about establishing who is availing using the service," said Sameer Nigam, CEO of PhonePe at our discussion on Intermediary Liability in Bangalore on November 22, 2019. "Demanding traceability is not a way for the government to get a back door, companies have to be held accountable, the government has to have a reason [for demanding traceability]. It’s not a way for tech companies to have a back door to your private conversations," he said. Nigam said that it made sense for platforms to enforce traceability, since being able to trace a user — if law enforcement asks for it — is a reasonable demand, and platforms should comply with the law of the land. Instead of trying to split the role of the intermediaries, Nigam argued, we can consider the liabilties that platforms can be held responsible for: Whether traceability is the responsibility of a service provider of knowing who their users are, which is a fair demand of countries and/or law enforcement. Whether a service provider is liable for determining if some content is right or wrong, hateful or not, vicious or not. But no two countries will agree on the standards, so this isn't a matter for courts or police to decide, but it's a matter to be considered at the governance level of the individual companies. There's a difference between a country's prevailing law declaring something illegal, and a platform saying that something is hateful, unacceptable, or threatening. If the court of the land says that…

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