Legal ‘hole’ in online draft
Mozilla, the not-for-profit entity behind the web browser Firefox, has called out the Narendra Modi government’s perceived attempt to stifle free speech over the Internet.
The Centre has proposed to introduce rules that will require social media and e-commerce platforms to proactively take down “unlawful” user content that the government or its agencies determine to be offensive.
In the landmark Shreyas Singhal judgment handed down by the Supreme Court in 2015, Internet companies were only expected to remove content when they were directed by a court to do so.
On December 24, the ministry of electronics and information technology put up the proposal to amend the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines Rules) 2018 and invited comments.
Amba Kak, Mozilla’s public policy adviser, said in a recent blog post that the ministry’s attempt to foist the new set of rules on the intermediaries turned the logic of the Singhal judgment “on its head”.
At the heart of the issue is the government’s attempt to twist the interpretation of Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, which provides Internet intermediaries an exemption from liabilities.
In their order delivered in March 2015, Justices J. Chelameswar and Rohinton Fali Nariman had struck down Section 66A of the IT Act which contained provisions for the arrest of those who posted offensive content on the Internet. ..Read More..