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Summary: IT Rules clarifications from the government and some comments from us

The Rules mandate a laundry list of compliance requirements, impacting the internet and internet-based companies in India.

By Anushka Jain, Aihik Sur, Nishant Kauntia, and Mitaksh Jain After months of controversy, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) has finally provided clarity on the Information Technology (Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, through a set of Frequently Asked Questions. The 28-page document goes through various questions on the applicability, due diligence provisions, penalties, etc. of the IT Rules related to social media intermediaries; however, the ministry is expected to release another document on the Standard Operating Procedures for the Rules, Minister of State (MoS) for IT Rajeev Chandrashekhar said at a press conference on November 1. Since their enactment in May, the IT Rules have been challenged in various courts and has also led to Twitter nearly losing its safe harbour status in India. In fact, soon after the rules came into force, five industry bodies wrote to MeitY asking for more clarification on the compliance requirements and norms dictated by the rules. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOFe3eT1fyg[/embed] FAQs on the basics of IT Rules Will news aggregators qualify as intermediaries or publishers under the IT Rules, 2021? Some entities may be functioning both like an intermediary as well as a publisher, the FAQ clarifies. Further clarification with respect to the Rules relating to news and current affairs content may be sought from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB). What is left unaddressed? The response does not address how such aggregators will comply with the rules for both intermediaries and publishers. “...it’s quite hard to imagine…

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