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Data Protection Bill may put safe harbour status of social media firms on the line: Report

The joint parliamentary panel is considering several amendments to the PDP Bill, including a change in its very name.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill is considering various amendments to the draft bill, including provisions that could impact the intermediary liability of social media companies operating in India, according to a report by Hindustan Times on September 18. Intermediary liability refers to the legal responsibility of a platform, like a social media network, in relation to content posted on them by third parties — Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 provides conditional safety to intermediaries from this liability. The amendments, if included in the bill, would override section 79 of the IT Act - the report quoted an unnamed government official as saying - and have an impact on the standing of the IT Rules, 2021. Section 79 of the IT Act lays down relief from liability on the condition that intermediaries do not "initiate the transmission, select the receiver of the transmission, and select or modify the information contained in the transmission." The IT Rules lay down how governments can interact with such intermediaries on content moderation, takedown requests, public grievances, and more. What changes are being considered? The Hindustan Times reported that the following amendments are being proposed to the Personal Data Protection Bill: Significant data fiduciaries: Significant data fiduciaries are data fiduciaries or persons, companies, or governments which process data, that are subject to greater scrutiny, assessments, and regulation under the Act. The proposed amendment provides a definition of social media platform It defines a threshold of users or…

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