Experts wary of changes proposed in IT rules; say amendments detrimental to privacy, free speech

Government’s plans to bring changes in IT rules for greater scrutiny of social media and online platforms has raised concerns with IT and law experts who say the amendments may allow authorities to seek user data, invading privacy and free speech.

One of the amendments being mulled in the IT intermediary rules will require these platforms to enable tracing out of such originators of information as needed by government agencies that are legally authorised.

The controversial area has marked a prolonged tug-of-war between the Centre and WhatsApp, following incidents of mob-violence incited by rumours floating on the popular messaging app.

The proposed changes in rules that will place social media platforms under lens, also require them to deploy tools to “identify” and curb unlawful content as well as follow stricter due-diligence practices.

When contacted, cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said that some of the changes were akin to India’s own anti-encryption law.

Duggal added that the proposed amendments would clarify law for intermediaries, a grey area thus far, and help reiterate applicability of cyber laws to entities located outside India. ..Read More..

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