The extended time for public comments to be submitted for the proposed changes in the Intermediary Guidelines is ending on 31st January 2019.
Naavi has already added his views in the comments submitted by the Foundation of Data Protection Professionals in India, a copy of which is found here…. Comments of FDPPI
Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar, MP has also published the comments submitted by him, a copy of which is available here….Comments of Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar
Mr Chandrashekar, who was also a member of the standing committee which went into an in depth discussion on “Intermediary Liabilities” which ended up with the amendments of 2008, has recalled the observations made by the Standing Committee in his comments.
A copy of the standing committee report is available here… Standing Committee Report of 2006-2008
Essence of Mr Chandrashekar’s Comments
Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar has basically suggested that there is a need to regulate the intermediaries and make them liable for misuse. He has however pointed out that there are different categories of intermediaries and one size fits all kind of approach should be avoided. He has basically identified 5 types of intermediaries namely the ISPs, Data Processing and web hosting companies, Search engines, E Commerce and social media companies.
Mr Chandrashekar has expressed a strong opinion that technology companies must proactively prevent misuse of their platforms.
An important point that Mr Chandrashekar has made is that today intermediaries are not “mere conduits”. Profiling of users by a study of the information passed through is the order of the day. Hence there is no logic in these intermediaries putting up an excuse that such a requirement would either be infeasible or a burden on them.
Naavi agrees with this view and has strongly advocated for a long time that “Intermediaries” cannot simply make money by purveying information that is used for committing crimes. In the recent days the political parties have taken the fake news to a different level. The trust of the internet as a media has been destroyed by the fake news factories. Hence regulating the social media has become inevitable and the ready instrument available is the social media.
The Intermediary guidelines will soon end up with the Supreme Court and it will do its bit to confuse the matters. Unfortunately, the Courts in India at the Supreme Court level have repeatedly failed to raise above the politics and in recent days yielded to the pressures created by the politician lawyers and the anti-Government PIL lawyers to the extent that the credibility of the institution as a neutral judicial authority has turned shaky.
The Court is unlikely to look at the good intention behind the proposal and will be amenable to be influenced by the advocate’s aura and political ideologies. The Court will be happy to stamp its authority by rejecting what the Government proposes even if it is on flimsy technical grounds without looking at the larger consequences and this will be fodder for the opposition political parties during the election time.
Hence the Government has to be careful in drafting the guidelines.