After the new rules brought for social media intermediaries under the IT Act 2000 Act, now the face-off between Twitter and Facebook has started. According to the Indian Express report, the central government has started a new round of negotiations for an IT law to deal with the current and future situations. In February, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had issued stringent rules for social media intermediaries under the existing IT Act. These new rules were also challenged in the High Courts. Both the Madras and Bombay High Courts have stayed the operation of major parts of the rules. The Bombay High Court has held that the new rules are clearly unfair and at variance with the objectives and provisions of the IT Act.
However, government officials say the new rules are aimed at developing a compliance mechanism, which includes complaints and their resolution. If compliance can be ensured without any court or case, then why should it not be done. The official also said that some changes can be made to remove any criminal liability on the grievance and compliance officers appointed by the intermediaries. The new Act is also likely to include provisions that cover newer aspects of IT, including blockchain, bitcoin and the dark net.
Hence the need for a new law
According to an official, the old IT Act of 2000 was formulated primarily keeping in mind the prevention of simple fraud, blocking of websites and illegal content. Now a lot has changed. Amending the old law will no longer have any meaning. We will introduce a new rule to deal with current and future situations.
no clear definition in this case
Officials said the new law would define various forms of online sexual harassment, such as stalking, intimidation, and would make stringent provisions on morphing pictures. Clear guidelines on punishment for these offenses will also be set in the new rule. Currently this includes online bullying, stalking, other forms of sexual harassment, making unsolicited comments, morphing photos, releasing or posting private photos without anyone's consent. There is no legal definition for this and there is no exact law for it. Intermediaries are doing it, but on a case-to-case basis. In such a situation a national law is needed.
New law will increase responsibility
The new IT Act will also increase the responsibility of social media intermediaries. A social media intermediary cannot claim that they are taking action on all of their platforms for pornographic material, nudity or messages that may promote terror.
this will be the new law
Parental consent will be required when signing up for the websites. Although social media intermediaries are opposing this, the government argues that they want to create a safe environment on social media and the Internet. Earlier this year, the IT ministry's new rules for social media intermediaries led to a standoff with Facebook and Twitter. The two eventually hired complaints and compliance personnel, but also approached the court. The ministry had also asked these platforms to submit monthly reports on complaints received from users and action taken.