Key takeaways Court challenges will decide how much of the rules remain The IT Rules 2021 seem to be overstepping the limits of subordinate legislation Obligations on intermediaries will create a 'chilling effect' on free speech of users Platforms will prefer taking down content to risk picking a fight with the government The Information Technology (Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, notified earlier this year, fundamentally change how online speech is moderated. It gives significant powers to internet platforms to take down any objectionable content even without a government order. Unsurprisingly, the Rules are already subject to multiple legal challenges, most of which point out the fact the the Rules are stretching the purpose and utility of subordinate legislation. Petitioners believe that the Rules are unconstitutional. In a panel discussion held by MediaNama on the Impact of the IT Rules 2021 on Intermediaries, experts shared their views on the legal aspects of the Rules and whether they will survive a legal challenge. The panelists included Urvashi Aneja, co-founder and director of Tandem Research; Harshitha Thammaiah, General Counsel, Xiaomi India; S Chandrasekhar, Group Director, Government Affairs & Public Policy, Microsoft (India); and Rahul Narayan, advocate-on-record at the Supreme Court. This discussion was supported by Google. All quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UDlyQVVAL8&t=34s Are the Rules constitutional? On the face of it, the Rules are particularly good for privacy, security or our rights, said Rahul Narayan. "They make us, in a way, less free, less secure,…
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