MeitY Advisory Urges Intermediaries to Comply with IT Rules

To address the menace of deepfakes, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has come out with an advisory to all intermediaries to comply with provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Last month, a similar advisory was issued by the Ministry calling upon intermediaries to comply with the rules and take steps to identify misinformation and deepfakes. After holding discussions with stakeholders, certain measures were finalised to deal with the proliferation of deepfakes. These measures have been incorporated into the current advisory.

Specific emphasis has been placed on adherence to due diligence requirements under Rule 3(1)(b) which requires intermediaries to inform users of the content that cannot be published or transmitted. Under said Rule, prohibited content includes information that impersonates another person, infringes upon proprietary rights, threatens the sovereignty of India, etc. The same may be communicated to users through rules and regulations, privacy policies or user agreements. The advisory further specifies that users have to be informed of this at the time of first registration and at regular intervals; especially during each login and while content is being uploaded. Intermediaries have to ensure that their terms of service and user agreements “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”. Further, users must be apprised of the penal provisions that apply on violation of the said Rule.