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Advisory to all intermediaries, urging compliance with existing IT rules

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a recent advisory to all intermediaries, urging compliance with existing IT rules. The focus of this directive is particularly on addressing concerns related to misinformation, specifically those fueled by AI-generated deepfakes.

The advisory necessitates that intermediaries communicate prohibited content, especially that outlined in Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT Rules, transparently to users. This advisory follows discussions led by Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Electronics & IT, and Jal Shakti, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, during Digital India dialogues with intermediaries within a one-month period.

According to the advisory, content prohibited under Rule 3(1)(b), notably, must be communicated clearly to users through terms of service, user agreements, and reiterated during user registration, login, and information sharing/uploading on the platform. The directive underscores the responsibility of digital intermediaries to inform users about the legal consequences, including provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act 2000, in case of Rule 3(1)(b) violations. Rule 3(1)(b) within the IT rules mandates intermediaries to communicate their rules, regulations, privacy policy, and user agreement in the user's preferred language. They are also obligated to take reasonable measures to prevent users from engaging in activities related to 11 listed user harms or content prohibited on digital platforms, including misinformation and deepfakes.

During stakeholder meetings over a month, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar emphasized the urgency for strict adherence to existing laws and regulations, stating that the IT rules comprehensively address the threat of deepfakes. Minister Chandrasekhar highlighted the dangers of misinformation and deepfakes, noting Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's alert on November 17. He emphasized the importance of compliance with the IT rules, with a specific focus on Rule 3(1)(b)(v), which prohibits the dissemination of misinformation. and trust of digital users on the Indian Internet.

The Minister underlined that intermediaries have been informed about the legal consequences of rule violations. In conclusion, the Minister stated that MeitY will closely monitor intermediary compliance in the coming weeks, with potential amendments to the IT Rules or the law if needed. The government's mission is to ensure a safe and trusted internet, holding intermediaries accountable for the safety

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