Govt moves to access and trace all ‘unlawful’ content online

In what raises questions over freedom of speech online, the government is proposing draft amendments to rules governing content, The Indian Express has learnt.

The proposed amendments to rules under Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act make it mandatory for online platforms 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.

In the draft of The Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018, Rule 3(9) requires “intermediaries”, or online platforms, to “deploy technology based automated tools or appropriate mechanisms, with appropriate controls, for proactively identifying or removing or disabling access to unlawful information or content”.

The insertion of a new Rule 3(4) activates a pro-active monthly notification across intermediaries to warn users repeatedly. Rule 3(5), which will introduce a “traceability requirement”, will in effect require a platform to break end-to-end encryption and introduce systems for retaining data and information specific to each bit of data, including WhatsApp messages. ..Read More..

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