NEW DELHI: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that internet has emerged as a potent tool to cause unimaginable disruption to the democratic polity and required effective regulation of the intermediaries.
The government submitted that it further needed a period of three months for finalising and notifying the final revised rules in accordance with law.
In its affidavit, the government emphasized on the need to revamp the mechanism on accountability of intermediaries and social media entities such as Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube. It mooted for making intermediaries more liable towards the content that is published, transmitted, etc on their platform. “If on one hand, technology has led to economic growth and societal development, on the other hand, there has been an exponential rise in hate speech, fake news, public order, anti-national activities, defamatory postings and other unlawful activities using internet/social media platforms,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s affidavit stated.
The affidavit said the 2011 rules need to be revised for effective regulation of intermediaries keeping in view the ever-growing threats to individual rights and nation’s integrity, sovereignty, and security. It mentioned all steps taken since 2018, including the inter-ministerial consultations to seek views of other departments such as the ministries of home affairs, information and broadcasting, health and family welfare, women and child development and commerce, on the draft revised rules.
The updated draft rules are under discussion and as it has to be vetted by the Law and Justice Ministry, the entire process will be completed by January 2020, the affidavit stated.
‘New rules by 2020’
The new Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules will be notified by Jan 15, 2020. The affidavit was in response to a September 24 order of the court to appraise it of the status of framing of the new rules for notification.