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India’s FOSS community files plea in Kerala High Court against IT Rules, challenges traceability mandate

A fresh petition, this time from the Indian FOSS community, has been filed before the Kerala High Court, praying that the court stay the implementation of IT Rules 2021, insofar as it concerns new requirements for internet intermediaries, including alarming mandates around traceability, proactive takedowns, and content removal. The plea has been filed by Praveen Arimbrathodiyil, who works with other volunteers to maintain FOSS (free and open source software) domains such as fsci.com and codema.in and are part of the Free Software Community of India (FSCI). The domains and services managed by the petitioner and others like him provide a platform to users to post content and are intermediaries as per the IT Act. Arimbrathodiyil has prayed for an interim stay on the implementation of the rules and direction that no coercive action will be initiated against him or others running FOSS products in India. It has further asked the court quash Part II of the IT Rules 2021 (which concerns due diligence for intermediaries), direct the government to form rules in line with IT Act 2000 and Shreya Singhal, and to declare right to encryption as a subset of the fundamental right to privacy. MediaNama has reviewed a copy of the petition.  FOSS drives a majority of the world’s technological advancement in computer programming; it even serves as the building block of several proprietary software used by tech giants. WhatsApp, for instance, is based on the open-source cryptographic protocol Signal. Arimbrathodiyil said he cannot bear the compliance burden of…

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