“There is a legitimate question, should there be safe harbour at all?” mused Minister of State for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar while speaking at a consultation on the Digital India Act, 2023, in Bengaluru yesterday. Why it matters: This could be a worrying sign for tech companies operating in India, as the upcoming Act may upend the country's “safe harbour” laws. They traditionally protect “intermediaries” or platforms from being held liable for the third-party content they host. “If there is a need for safe harbour, who should be entitled to it? The whole logic of safe harbour is that platforms have absolutely no power or control over the content that some other consumer creates on the platform. But, in this day and age, is that really necessary? Is that safe harbour required?" — Rajeev Chandrasekhar The Digital India Act is anticipated to replace the 23-year-old Information and Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act), and regulate platforms, user harms, and the ethical use of technology, among other issues. [caption id="attachment_180496" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Source: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.[/caption] Top takeaways 1. Different types of intermediaries identified: Different intermediaries operating in India highlighted during the presentation included e-commerce companies, digital media, search engines, gaming companies, “AI”, Over-the-top (OTT) platforms, telecom service providers, ad-tech companies, and significant social media intermediaries. [caption id="attachment_180492" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Source: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.[/caption] 2. Different rules for different platforms: While responding to an audience question, Chandrasekhar clarified that the "Digital India Act isn’t some broad framework.…
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