The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (the “Intermediary Rules”) fundamentally change the way the internet will be experienced in India.
While Part I of the Intermediary Rules mainly lays down the definitions of terms, Part II and Part III contain the actual compliances and requirements. Part II deals with the regulation of intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. Social media intermediaries include messaging-related intermediaries, such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, and media-related intermediaries, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This part is administered by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology or MeitY.
Part III deals with the regulation of digital news media (though there is a lack of clarity on exactly which news media these Rules apply to) and OTT platforms, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+Hotstar. Part III is administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Below we are doing a deeper dive and an initial analysis of the new compliances with brief comments on possible impacts. We invite you to use the comments feature to let us know your thoughts, views, and yes, we do remain open to any and all corrections. We intend to advance a public discussion on these massive changes to our internet freedom which appear to hurt our privacy and free expression tremendously.
While in the version in 2011, an intermediary was required to appoint a grievance redressal officer (Rule 11), there are a whole host of compliances now necessary that have been additionally placed. Previously, the Grievance Officer was responsible for receiving complaints from users concerning the Rules and redressing them within a month. Now, the Grievance Officer is responsible for acknowledging complaints within 24 hours and resolving them within a reduced timeline of 15 days.
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