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Blockchain, AI, ‘Deliberate Misinformation’, and Doxxing Among Issues and Sectors to be Covered by Upcoming IT Law

The government is working to replace the IT Act 2000 with a new ‘Digital India Act’, says an Indian Express report. Will this be a new filip to free speech?

Data privacy, ‘deliberate’ misinformation, doxxing (or publicly publishing private personal information online), artificial intelligence, blockchain, algorithmic accountability, and net neutrality are some of the issues and sectors that the Indian government's new IT law is expected to regulate, reported The Indian Express today. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is believed to have drafted an outline of the law, however no deadline to finalise it has been decided as yet.  Referred to as the ‘Digital India Act’ in government corridors, the law is expected to address the battery of unique online harms that Indian users of the Internet face today, said an unnamed government source. The forthcoming Act replaces the two-decade-old Information and Technology Act, 2000. The antiquated Act has struggled to keep up with India’s rapidly evolving technology sector, resulting in amendments, legal challenges, and subsidiary legislation. Inter-departmental and industry consultations to amend the Act reportedly began in 2020. Developing a legal framework for ‘deliberate misinformation’ online appears to be a clear concern for MeitY, as per the source’s comments. This entails distinguishing deliberate misinformation online, which is not illegal in India currently, from its current interpretation under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, where it is understood through the perspective of defamation. The source further noted the need to ‘tackle’ algorithms on social media platforms—including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter—which individuals use to 'deliberately' disseminate and amplify misinformation. The source added that MeitY is considering inserting deliberate misinformation as an ‘offence’ in the refreshed legislation, along with doxxing.  Last month, Minister of State for…

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