International coalition requests Indian government to withdraw proposed intermediary rules

An international coalition of 31 civil society and technology experts asked the Indian Prime Minister’s Office to withdraw the proposed changes to section 79 of the Information Technology Act 2000, which regulates online intermediaries. According to the coalition, requiring intermediaries to ensure traceability of messages would undermine the security of online platforms and create a surveillance regime. Also, the draft requires intermediaries to preserve content requested by law enforcement for 180 days or longer. This data retention violates user privacy. The draft guidelines also oblige intermediaries to proactively monitor and automatically delete unlawful content. The coalition considers this provision an excessive burden for online intermediaries and contrary to regulations of many countries. A proactive monitor can result in censorship. The proposed amendments to the act were released at the end of December 2018.

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