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Amending the ‘Unlawful’ Online Content by the Indian Govt.; a New IT rule

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Moupiya Dutta
Moupiya Dutta
She finds it interesting to learn and analyze society. she keeps herself updated, emphasizing technology, social media, and science. She loves to pen down her thoughts, interested in music, art, and exploration around the globe.

Just after the Ministry of Home Affairs gives government agencies power to monitor, seize and look into computers and phones, another report is brought forth. The Govt. is planning to amend the guidelines around online content, and making it mandatory for platforms to weed out content that is suspected to be ‘unlawful.’

The proposed amendments make new rules under Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act to “proactively” deploy technology, which would enable a ferreting of content seen as “unlawful.” They also require end-to-end encryption to be broken so that the origin of messages can be traced.

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There should be a Nodal person of Contact for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure compliance. The social media platforms will keep a vigil on “unlawful activity” for “180 days”.

The rule draft says: “ in a lawful order the intermediary shall, within 72 hours of communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency or assistance concerning the security of the State or cybersecurity; or investigation or detection or prosecution or prevention of offense. The intermediary shall enable tracing out of such originator of information on its platform as may be required by government agencies that are legally authorized.”

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Raising concerns over rising incidents of violence and lynching in the country due to misuse of social media platforms, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had spoken of introducing changes in Section 79 of the IT Act in Rajya Sabha. As he is concerned that the platform does not spread hoaxed facts on a large scale that will stimulate people to commit suicide.

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