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Business News/ Technology / News/  Deep fake issue: IT Ministry tells social media platforms to 'comply with rules' or face action
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Deep fake issue: IT Ministry tells social media platforms to 'comply with rules' or face action

Amid growing concerns over deepfake videos, the government said in its latest advisory, “The content not permitted under the IT Rules, in particular those listed under Rule 3(1)(b) must be clearly communicated to the users in clear and precise language…”

The advisory emphasises that digital intermediaries must ensure users are informed about penal provisions, including those in the IPC and the IT Act 2000, in case of Rule 3(1)(b) violations. Premium
The advisory emphasises that digital intermediaries must ensure users are informed about penal provisions, including those in the IPC and the IT Act 2000, in case of Rule 3(1)(b) violations.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued an advisory to all intermediaries to comply with the existing IT rules. “The directive specifically targets the growing concerns around misinformation powered by AI – Deepfakes," the government said in a press release on Tuesday.

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said a formal advisory was issued on Tuesday. It incorporated the procedures to ensure that users on these platforms do not violate the prohibited content in Rule 3(1)(b)

“If such legal violations are noted or reported, then the consequences under law will follow," Chandrasekhar said. He added that the MeitY will closely observe the compliance of intermediaries in the coming weeks and follow this up with further amendments to the IT Rules and/or the law if and when required.

What does the advisory say?

The advisory stated that the content not permitted under IT rules must be clearly communicated to users.

“The content not permitted under the IT Rules, in particular those listed under Rule 3(1)(b), must be clearly communicated to the users in clear and precise language including through its terms of service and user agreements," the ministry said. 

It added that "the same must be expressly informed to the user at the time of first-registration and also as regular reminders, in particular, at every instance of login and while uploading/sharing information onto the platform."

What the Rule 3(1)(b) says

Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT rules mandates intermediaries to communicate their rules, regulations, privacy policy, and user agreement in the user’s preferred language.

ALSO READ: Deepfake regulation to target both creators and social media platforms

“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," the government said.

This rule aims to ensure that platforms “identify and promptly remove misinformation, false or misleading content, and material impersonating others, including deepfakes".

On deepfake videos, photos

Rajeev Chandrasekhar also asked all intermediaries to exercise due diligence in promptly removing such (misinformation) content from their platforms. He also emphasised that platforms have been duly informed about the legal consequences associated with any violations under the IT rules.

The IT Rule 3(1)(b)(v) explicitly prohibits the dissemination of misinformation.  It says the intermediary shall “make reasonable efforts, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information that"— “infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary rights…impersonates another person".

Punishment

The advisory emphasised that digital intermediaries must ensure users are informed about penal provisions, including those in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act 2000, in case of IT Rule 3(1)(b) violations.

The IT rules specify that in case of the "non-observance of rules" — where an intermediary fails to observe these rules — “the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 79 of the Act shall not be applicable to such intermediary and the intermediary shall be liable for punishment under any law for the time being in force including the provisions of the Act and the Indian Penal Code".

The section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 says: "Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force but subject to the provisions of sub-sections (2) and (3), an intermediary shall not be liable for any third party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him."

Now, the latest advisory said, “The users must be made aware of the various penal provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, the IT Act, 2000 and such other laws that may be attracted in case of violation of Rule 3(1)(b)." 

"In addition, the terms of service and user agreements must clearly highlight that intermediaries/platforms are under obligation to report legal violations to the law enforcement agencies under the relevant Indian laws applicable to the context," it added.

 

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Published: 26 Dec 2023, 07:16 PM IST
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