The government’s proposal to create a complaints committee with the power to overturn decisions by social media companies and other internet companies aims to address a number of shortcomings and gaps emanating from major tech companies, an official statement said. Monday.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) said in an attached press note with a reloaded draft Notice to Change Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), 2021, that it will hold a public consultation in mid-June on the proposal.
It has also extended the deadline for public comments on the 2021 IT Rules Amendment Draft Notice by 30 days from June 6.
The draft notice of June 1 specified June 22 as the last date for public comments. The draft was removed by Meity on June 2 and re-uploaded on its website.
The Meity said it has notified 2021 IT rules on February 25, 2021 with the aim of ensuring an open, secure, trusted and responsible internet for all Indian internet users and “digital nagriks”.
Under the rules, key social media intermediaries – those with more than 50 lakh users – are required to appoint a complaints officer, a focal point officer and a chief compliance officer. This staff must be residents of India.
The social media companies covered by the rules are also classified as “Big Tech” companies because they dominate the segments in which they operate.
The Meity said the notified rules have succeeded in creating a new sense of accountability between intermediaries and their users, especially within Big Tech platforms.
“As the digital ecosystem and connected internet users in India expand, so do the challenges and issues they face, as well as some of the flaws and gaps that exist in the current rule regarding the Big Tech platform. Therefore, new changes have been proposed to the 2021 IT rules to address these challenges and gaps,” the statement said.
The Center proposed in the draft amendment to establish a Complaints Committee to investigate appeals filed by individuals against decisions of the complaints officer of social media platforms.
In addition, the panel must dismiss the appeals within 30 days of receipt and its decision will be binding on the intermediaries involved or the major social media companies, according to a Notice of Amendment to the Information Technology (Directives for Intermediaries and Code of Ethics for Digital Media) Rules, 2021 .
The proposed move makes sense against the backdrop of accounts, including those of celebrities, that are being blocked by social media platforms such as Twitter for allegedly violating the respective Community Guidelines.
“The central government will establish one or more complaints appeal committees, which will consist of a chairman and as many other members as the central government can, by means of a notice in the official gazette,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said. Meity) in a statement. the draft notification.
The injured party can appeal to the committee against the decision of the complaints officer concerned within 30 days of receipt of the order.
“The Appeals Board shall deal with such appeal expeditiously and shall endeavor to finalize the appeal within 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the appeal. Any order issued by the Appeals Board shall be intermediary,” according to the draft notice.
The rules for social media companies came into effect on May 26, 2021. It required major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to allow the identification of the “first creator” of the information undermining India’s sovereignty, state security, or public order.
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