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#NAMA: Govt intention is higher accountability from platforms: MEITY’s Rakesh Maheshwari on IT Rules 2021

Key takeaways  The IT Rules 2021 was spurred on by court cases (including the Prajwala case on child sexual abuse and gang rape imagery online) and by the Rajya Sabha Committee's report on child pornography. The government will bring in new standard operating procedures to be followed by intermediaries for compliance with the rules; they will not be notified in the gazette. The government is open to revising the 5 million threshold up or down in the future if necessary, according to MEITY's Rakesh Maheshwari. * According to MEITY official Rakesh Maheshwari, the Indian government's intention with the IT Rules 2021 has always been to have a higher level of accountability for users from all intermediaries, particularly the significant ones. The IT Rules 2021 represent a sea change for how internet intermediaries, which include ISPs, search engines, social media platforms, and countless others, will govern their own services, a change that will have a direct impact on free speech and user privacy.   Maheshwari is the Senior Director and Group Coordinator of Cyber Law & eSecurity at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY). Speaking at MediaNama's April 23 discussion on the impact of the IT Rules 2021 on intermediaries, he explained several of the Rules' requirements and the government's reasoning behind them. He said the government's intention is not to net in more platforms as significant social media intermediaries or to harass chief compliance officers. He cited the following as some of the reasons that the rules were brought…

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