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India’s E-Commerce Rules to also focus on algorithms

Several industry stakeholders had expressed deep concerns when the amendments were proposed in 2021.

The Indian government is set to revise the e-commerce rules (first published in 2020) to include amendments pertaining to "algorithmic fairness", The Hindu reported. The Department of Consumer Affairs is looking to nullify the advantage provided by marketplaces to entities wholly or partially owned by them, the report added. https://twitter.com/sub8u/status/1516268632808226816?s=24&t=upMdrXGFdjQ8kYuSMaqtmg Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told The Hindu that the department was focusing on “transparency” and “fairness” as they were key to protecting consumer rights in a digital economy. This would be the second time that the government is amending these rules. “Nothing should be concealed from the end-user, and to begin with the algorithm that dictates the search result, choice should also be explained to them. The consumer has the right to know why a product of a certain firm always comes at the very top of the tally during a search and why a product is pushed down,” Singh was quoted as saying. Many major e-commerce companies rely on algorithms to facilitate transactions on their marketplaces, triggering the need for accountability. The alleged dominance of these companies has led to several complaints from aggrieved consumers, traders, and associations against widespread cheating and unfair trade practices plaguing the e-commerce ecosystem. A look at India's E-Commerce Rules 2021 The consumer affairs ministry first came out with the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules in July 2020. The Rules saw a spate of proposed amendments in 2021 to address issues like abuse of FDI regulations, the establishment of a grievance redressal mechanism, new display…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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