Topic – Awareness in the fields of IT
6) The draft IT rules seek to ensure that “unlawful” content does not feed back into social unrest. Critically analyze.(250 words)
Why this question
Various forms of social media form an important part of today’s world and increasing online presence only underlines the importance of social media. While social media can be used for better purposes, it can also be used to create social unrest by vested interests. Therefore it is essential to look into the draft IT rules mooted recently and how they will affect social media and any negative repercussions that may be caused by those rules.
Critically analyze- here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to dig deep into the draft IT rules released recently by Indian govt. It wants us to discuss how those laws seek to limit distribution of unlawful content on social media and also discuss any negative repercussions of such a policy measure. Based on our discussion we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the recently mooted draft IT rules. E.g mention the stage of deliberation/ enactment and what rules they seek to supersede.
- Discuss the salient provisions of the draft IT rules. E.g The Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018 are a set of changes in the rules used to operationalise the IT Act in March 2011. These rules are on how intermediaries, or various online platforms big and small, are to perform under Section 79. The existing rules provide immunity to these platforms for the content they transmit which is then published by end users, but they have to comply with legal requests for takedown of unlawful content and provide information on users.
- Discuss the problems associated with each sub rule, if any. E.g
- Draft Rule 3(9): it would require online platforms to become proactive arbiters of “unlawful” content via “technology-based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms”. This runs contrary to what the Shreya Singhal judgment in 2015 said while outlawing Section 66 of the Act. It had noted, “it would be very difficult for intermediaries like Google, Facebook etc. to act when millions of requests are made and the intermediary is then to judge as to which of such requests are legitimate and which are not”. The proposed change shifts the onus and duty of the state to a private party.
- Draft Rule 3(5): introduces the requirement of “traceability” which would break end-to-end encryption which could endanger the promise of end-to-end encryption offered by some of the larger platforms. The smaller platforms, most of which do not offer end-to-end encryption, could end up being forced to provide metadata.
- Draft Rule 3(8): increases the period for which data has to be retained,from 90 to 180 days. It also provides for further retention on the discretion of “government agencies”
- Draft Rule 3(4)- the “nanny clause”.
Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.