NEW IT Rules 2021 Hindi
The Digital India programme has now become a movement that is empowering common Indians with the power of technology.
The extensive spread of mobile phones, the Internet, etc. has also enabled many social media platforms to expand their footprints in India. Common people are also using these platforms in a very significant way.
Some portals, which publish analysis of social media platforms and which have not been disputed, have reported the following numbers as the user base of major social media platforms in India: WhatsApp’s users: 53 Crore, YouTube’s users: 44.8 Crore, Facebook’s users: 41 Crore, Instagram’s users: 21 Crore, Twitter users: 1.75 Crore
These social platforms have enabled common Indians to show their creativity, ask questions, be informed, and freely share their views, including criticism of the Government and its functionaries. The Government acknowledges and respects the right of every Indian to criticize and disagree as an essential element of democracy.
These Rules substantially empower the ordinary users of digital platforms to seek redressal for their grievances and command accountability in case of infringement of their rights. In this direction, the following developments are noteworthy:
- The Supreme Court in suo-moto writ petition (Prajjawala case) vide order dated 11/12/2018 had observed that the Government of India may frame necessary guidelines to eliminate child pornography, rape and gangrape imageries, videos, and sites in content hosting platforms and other applications.
- The Supreme Court vide order dated 24/09/2019 had directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to appraise the timeline in respect of completing the process of notifying the new rules.
- There was a Calling Attention Motion on the misuse of social media and the spread of fake news in the Rajya Sabha and the Minister had conveyed to the house on 26/07/2018, the resolve of the Government to strengthen the legal framework and make the social media platforms accountable under the law. He had conveyed this after repeated demands from the Members of the Parliament to take corrective measures.
- The Ad-hoc committee of the Rajya Sabha laid its report on 03/02/2020 after studying the alarming issue of pornography on social media and its effect on children and society as a whole and recommended for enabling identification of the first originator of such contents.
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) prepared draft Rules and invited public comments on 24/12/2018. MEITY received 171 comments from individuals, civil society, industry associations, and organizations. 80 counter comments to these comments were also received. These comments were analyzed in detail and an inter-ministerial meeting was also held and accordingly, these Rules have been finalized.
Guidelines Related to Social Media to Be Administered by Ministry of Electronics and IT:
- Due Diligence To Be Followed By Intermediaries: The Rules prescribe due diligence that must be followed by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
- Grievance Redressal Mechanism: The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims. Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. The grievance officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty-four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.
- Ensuring Online Safety and Dignity of Users, Especially Women Users: Intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in a sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images, etc. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.
- Two Categories of Social Media Intermediaries: To encourage innovations and enable the growth of new social media intermediaries without subjecting smaller platforms to significant compliance requirements, the Rules make a distinction between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. This distinction is based on the number of users on the social media platform. The government is empowered to notify the threshold of a user base that will distinguish between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. The Rules require the significant social media intermediaries to follow certain additional due diligence.
- Additional Due Diligence to Be Followed by Significant Social Media Intermediary:
- Appoint a Chief Compliance Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India.
- Appoint a Nodal Contact Person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
- Appoint a Resident Grievance Officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
- Publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.
- Significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information that is required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, or punishment of an offense related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order or of incitement to an offense relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years. The intermediary shall not be required to disclose the contents of any message or any other information to the first originator.
- Significant social media intermediary shall have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app or both.
- Voluntary User Verification Mechanism: Users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to verify their accounts and provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification.
- Giving Users An Opportunity to Be Heard: In cases where significant social media intermediaries removes or disables access to any information on their own accord, then a prior intimation for the same shall be communicated to the user who has shared that information with a notice explaining the grounds and reasons for such action. Users must be provided an adequate and reasonable opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary.
- Removal of Unlawful Information: An intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the Appropriate Govt. or its agencies through an authorized officer should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries, etc.
- The Rules will come in effect from the date of their publication in the gazette, except for the additional due diligence for significant social media intermediaries, which shall come in effect 3 months after publication of these Rules.
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For more details download the New Social Media Rules India 2021 PDF using the link given below.