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MeitY’s Advisory to Curb Deepfakes in India

In response to the rising concerns surrounding misinformation, particularly fueled by AI-generated deepfakes in India, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a comprehensive advisory to all intermediaries. This directive, a result of discussions led by Union Minister Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, emphasizes the need for strict compliance with existing IT rules.

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The advisory mandates that intermediaries clearly and precisely communicate prohibited content, specifically those outlined under Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT Rules. This communication is to be incorporated into terms of service, user agreements, and presented to users during the registration process and as regular reminders during platform usage.

Digital intermediaries are further instructed to inform users about penal provisions, including those in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act of 2000, in case of violations related to Rule 3(1)(b). Users should be made aware of the legal consequences associated with such breaches.

Rule 3(1)(b) within the due diligence section of the IT rules mandates intermediaries to communicate their rules, regulations, privacy policy, and user agreement in the user’s preferred language. They are also obliged to ensure reasonable efforts to prevent users from hosting, displaying, uploading, modifying, publishing, transmitting, storing, updating, or sharing any information related to the 11 listed user harms or content prohibited on digital intermediaries. This rule aims to ensure platforms identify and promptly remove misinformation, false or misleading content, and material impersonating others, including deepfakes.

In the aftermath of a month-long consultative meeting led by Union Minister Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, addressing concerns related to deepfakes, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) is set to closely monitor intermediary compliance in the coming weeks. The ministry emphasizes its commitment to the government's mission, led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to ensure a secure and trusted internet, holding all intermediaries accountable under the law for the safety and trust of Digital Nagriks utilizing the Indian internet.

Notably, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had announced in November the impending formulation of rules to regulate deepfakes, although no draft has been presented to date. The government clarified that amendments to the IT Rules would be considered "if and when required." However, the IT Ministry has not shared the full extract of the advisory sent to platforms.

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