A Self-regulatory Grievance Redressal Board proposed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) aims to adjudicate appeals to the removal of user data, accounts, or content under Rules 3(2)(a) and (b) of the IT Rules, 2021. The draft Code accessed and published by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) fleshes out the functioning, jurisdiction, and responsibilities of such a body. During a public consultation on the proposed amendments to the IT Rules in June, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) appeared amenable to an industry-led self-regulatory body (SRB), as an alternative to the much-criticised proposal of a government-appointed Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC). While the Ministry has taken a U-turn since then and is still gunning for a GAC for social media companies, the IAMAI’s draft proposal appears to be an early iteration of such a body—and the industry association's attempts to spearhead it. Why it matters: Homegrown platforms like Koo and stakeholders like the Asia Internet Coalition appear to vocally support the idea of an SRB to manage grievance redressal for Indian netizens (and perhaps avoid government interference in redressal). However, as noted by IFF and other stakeholders opposing SRBs, such institutions may perpetuate the same free speech, censorship, and transparency problems as the GAC. Aside from rights issues, SRBs may not be every Big Tech company's cup of tea either: for example, Google recently raised ‘serious concerns’ about an industry-led SRB that may ‘force Google to reinstate content that might violate Google’s internal policies.’ Even though MeitY…
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