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No need to add provision for intermediaries to respect fundamental rights, says CUTS on IT Rules amendments

In its submissions amid consultations on the amendments to India’s IT Rules 2021, the think tank questioned the GAC and raised other compliance issues

Revising certain existing provisions of the Information Technology Rules and Information Technology Act, conducting a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Rules, and advocacy for more transparency under the Rules are some of the chief suggestions made by Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) in their comments on the proposed amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The comments were submitted last month during the public consultation undertaken by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on the proposed amendments. Below we have summarised the content of CUTS' submission, which has been viewed by MediaNama. Why it matters? On June 6th, the IT Ministry released the set of amendments proposed to the IT Rules 2021 for public consultation. The changes have include controversial provisions of instituting a Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) which could involve a government official having oversight over content moderations decisions undertaken by social media platforms, making intermediaries respecting fundamental rights of users, ensuring their compliance to their terms and conditions, and so on. For context, experts and industry bodies of tech companies have raised worries of possible over-censorship of online speech through these rules, greater compliance burdens on intermediaries, the legality of the proposed changes, and more during consultation meetings as well as in comments submitted on the provisions.  CUTS' comments provided further clarity into what stakeholders are asking to change in the amendments and the alternatives possible therein. Never miss out on important developments in tech policy, whether in India…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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