On behalf of the #SaveOurPrivacy campaign IFF made the following submissions to MIETY.
- First, MIETY must respect the fundamental rights of internet users and treat them as the primary stakeholders in this conversation. This flows specifically from according respect to the Shreya Singhal judgement, which not only struck down Section 66A as unconstitutional (which is not being complied with), but also according due respect to its directions on intermediary liability. Further, MIETY must act on the findings of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation to the 15th Lok Sabha which required changes to the Intermediary Rules to reduce vagueness.
- Second, most of the changes suggested are beyond the jurisdiction of MEITY. It must also remember the limited jurisdictional ambit as this present exercise is to change rules which can only be framed within the confine of the parent provision that is Section 79. Hence, making prescriptions for, introducing traceability that breaks encryption, automated filtering of user content or prohibiting the display of content such as vaping devices falls outside its jurisdictional mandate and results in further vagueness.
- Third, to secure the fundamental rights of users the approach to take towards online intermediaries should start with meaningful transparency and accountability. Here, it is important for the public to know the processes, standards and internal decision making followed especially by large social media platforms. MIETY must urgently commence this process by requiring such disclosures that are made public on grounds of safeguarding the privacy and speech of millions of users who use the internet today.
- Fourth, the CRAC (Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee) which is a statutory body under the Information Technology Act, 2000 should be reconstituted with prominent membership of civil society organisations and should be tasked with coming up with a white paper on the future of the Information Technology Act, 2000. We believe that rather than diluting intermediary liability which requires to be safeguarded further protections to internet users is necessary.