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2) The proposed amendment to section 79 of IT Act would amount to serious curbing of free speech. Critically discuss.(250 words)

Topic – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2) The proposed amendment to section 79 of IT Act would amount to serious curbing of free speech. Critically discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article analyses the proposed amendment to IT Act and discusses the implications of the amendments on privacy and national security. This is a developing news and needs to be prepared to understand the nuances of the debate.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the proposed amendments to IT act and debate the amendment by bringing out its pros and cons. Finally we need to provide our fair and balanced opinion and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

Critically discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that in an effort to curb fake news etc, central government has proposed stringent changes under the draft of Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) that govern online content.

Body

  • Explain the changes that are proposed.
    • The changes will require online platforms to break end-to-end encryption in order to ascertain the origin of messages.
    • deploy technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying or removing or disabling access to unlawful information or content
    • social media platforms will need to comply with the central government “within 72 hours” of a query.
    • There should be a ‘Nodal person of Contact for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure compliance
  • Discuss the rationale behind such proposed amendments
    • rising incidents of violence and lynching in the country due to misuse of social media platforms
    • Threat to national security etc
  • Discuss how the amendment might be a threat to freedom of speech and expression. Analyze other issues in the proposed amendment

Conclusion – Based on arguments made above, give your view on the issue and highlight what should be the way forward.