Dear MEITY, withdraw the new IT Rules!

We write to MEITY urging them to withdraw the Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021 while objectively noting the marginal positives within them are eclipsed by the larger illegalities that threaten digital rights.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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There’s sufficient reason for us as citizens to be disappointed in these new rules. And while I can broadly agree to most of the points discussed above, there are certain other aspects that we need to be cognizant of if/when these new IT rules are reconsidered:

  1. As far as the principle 1 of the Manila Principles for Intermediary Liability is concerned, while intermediaries must be shielded to an extent, it is that very shield they have been found to be exploiting time and again. Facebook’s response to the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal was more of an “Oops! We didn’t know.” And while you may argue that they were fined $5B for it, does it even come close to what they made in the interim? If anything, it was nothing more than a speeding ticket. Platforms need to be held accountable at some point. I don’t know where that lies, but it sure is a requisite.

  2. In view of the principle 3 of the Santa Clara Principles, while I’ve not gone through the rules and at face value it sure sounds like 15 days to self censorship per your explanation, we also need to wonder what it means in terms of the relevance of the content under scrutiny beyond a window of 15 days in a world where so much content is generated every second. In such a scenario, what would be an appropriate time frame to redress such concerns and what metrics appropriately allude towards it?

Policies effectively come into play where self regulation fails, but the judicious use of such policies is, after all, in the hands of the very same policy makers that enact them. And as visible with the exploitation of UAPA and sedition laws in the recent times, it won’t be an overstatement to say that these newly implemented laws are a means to a similar end.

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