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Topic Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

·       Why in News:

  • Twitter India has recently appointed a permanent Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), a Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) and a Nodal Contact Person to comply with the New Information Technology (IT) Rules
  • Supreme Court recently placed its objection on Twitter changing the status of the CCO appointment from ‘interim’ to ‘contingent’ in the affidavit that it filed in
  • Whereas, the IT rules mandate that a senior employee should be appointed as the CCO, but as Twitter appointed a ‘Contingent Worker’ as CCO through a 3rd party contractor, that is why is this appointment was opposed by the

·       What are the exact rules:

  • As Twitter Inc has more than 50 lakh registered users in India, so it is classified as an ‘intermediary’ under Section 2(1)(w) of the IT Act, 2000 and as an SSMI (Significant Social Media Intermediary) under the New IT Rules
  • And, SSMIs are mandated under New IT Rules 2021 to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Officer and a Grievance Officer, all of whom should be Indian

·       What the rules say in case of non-compliance:

  • Non-compliance means breach of provisions of the New IT Rules, which can lead to an organization loosing the status of intermediary and the immunity provided
  • Thus, a loss of the intermediary status makes an organization liable for criminal action in case of complaints as the immunity provided from liabilities over any 3rd part data hosted by the organization is

·       When were the New IT Rules framed:

  • The IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were framed and notified by Centre on 25 February
  • This was done in exercise of the powers provided under Section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act,
  • The New IT Rules, 2021 superseded the IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules released in

·       Key Features of the New IT Rules:

  • Mandatory to set-up a grievance redressal system for all Over The Top (OTT) and digital portal all over India → Will help social media users to raise grievances against misuse of the social media
  • All Significant Social Media Intermediaries (SSMI) have to mandatorily appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Officer and a Grievance Officer, all of whom should be Indian Residents.
  • Nodal Officer appointed therein has to be in touch of law enforcement agencies 24/7.
  • The Grievance Officer appointed therein will have to register the grievance within 24 hours and dispose it off within 15
  • If there is any complaint against the dignity of users, specially women, about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation, etc, then social media platforms are required to remove that content within 24 hours after a complaint is
  • Monthly Report → Indicating the number of complaints received and their status of redressal will have to be
  • There shall be 3 levels of regulations for news publishers – self regulation, a self-regulatory body which shall be headed by a retired judge or an eminent person and the final oversight will be from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, including codes of practices and a grievance

·       Prelims Hot-Link:

  • Broad features of the New IT Rules
  • Criteria to define Significant Social Media Intermediaries
  • Exact Grievance Redressal Mechanism provided under New IT

·       Mains Hot-Link:

  • Discuss the need and significance of the New IT Rules
  • Critically analyse the objections being raised by some social media intermediaries over the New IT Rules, 2021 and ways to address these

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