How the internet will change the new IT rules in India
The Indian government has taken its first major step towards regulating major technology platforms. The government’s new Intermediate Guidelines for Information Technology Act (Information Technology Act) imposes certain restrictions on the platform and its operation in India. Mint explains.
What are these new arbitration rules?
The Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Conduct for Digital Media), 2021, are adopted to regulate technical platforms operating in India. These will affect the policies of the platforms, which will have to comply with the new rules. These rules, along with the upcoming Personal Data Protection (PDP) bill and expected cybersecurity law, will determine how the internet and internet-based businesses operate in the country in the future. They may or may not see you, see you, or use you indirectly through the Internet. In short, they will determine the future of the Internet in India.
How do they affect users and platforms?
The platforms will need to review their policies and make sure they follow these rules, and more who can follow the PDP bill. In some cases, they will need to revise their algorithms to ensure compliance, which can result in high research and development (R&D) costs. Platforms that are not receiving significant revenue from India may choose to leave the country instead of complying. For users, this would mean what they say or do on the internet. Their activities will be under greater scrutiny, and there are concerns over misuse by both platforms and the government.
What rules are written according to these guidelines?
Social media platforms should have grievance officers and the first promoter in India should localize the content. A code of ethics and procedures and guarantees concerning digital/online media has been put in place. Digital media must comply with the Journalistic and Program Code of Conduct of the Press Council of India under the Cable TV Network Regulation Act.
What specific rules are criticized?
One of the main concerns is that the encrypted messaging app will need to collect more user data first to send a message to the sender. It is also at odds with the supernatural standards of competence set out in the Information Technology Act. The new rules can get people in trouble even if they share a tweet/message from outside India, leading to the messenger being filmed instead of the actual producer. Experts said the information technology law should not apply to news media and keeping them under the same criteria could lead to abusive news censorship.
Will messaging apps have chat access?
Not necessary. While this means apps need to collect more data, experts said there are ways to ‘fingerprint’ every text, through which you can access the first author of a text without having to read its content. Think of it this way, the police legally grab a phone, read a text, and then ask an app to find the lesson’s first promoter. The app uses the fingerprint of this message to see where it started. This is technically possible and applications can do it without needing to read the text.