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Center considers nodal agents to regulate social media content | Latest India News


The electronics and information technology ministry (Meity) plans to appoint nodal agents to issue instructions for removal of “illegal” content in accordance with new guidelines on social media and intermediaries, officials said. close to the file.

“One of the proposals under consideration is to have a nodal officer who will be empowered to issue instructions for the removal of content,” an official said on condition of anonymity. “Standard operating procedures will help clarify the confusion around who gives direction from a particular department. ”

The government has been working on the standard operating procedure (SOP), which it is supposed to outline as part of new social media guidelines that went into effect in February. The proceedings are reviewed by a committee of officials from Meity and government ministries, including those for information and broadcasting, as well as law and justice. The procedure has been a key request made by the platforms as they seek to know who can issue take down orders for the content hosted on their sites.

The official added that although the government is working on the SOP, the rules for removing illegal content are clear.

“An intermediary on whose computer resources the information is stored, hosted or published, as soon as it becomes aware of it in the form of an order of a competent court or after having been notified by the competent government or its agency in under clause (b) of subsection (3) of article 79 of the law, shall not host, store or publish illegal information, which is prohibited by any applicable law with regard to the interest in the sovereignty and integrity of India; state security; friendly relations with foreign states; public order; decency or morality; in matters of contempt of court; defamation; incitement to an offense relating to the foregoing, or any information which is prohibited by any law currently in force, ”states the relevant section in the new guidelines on social media and intermediaries, which entered into force on 25 February.

A second official said the procedures will help clarify, especially in central ministries, who may ultimately issue content removal orders. “Take for example the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the procedures will help define who is the designated authority, whether it is the NCPCR (National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child) or the WCD (Women and Child Development) or another department under the ministry that asks a social media platform to take action against the content, ”the person added under cover of anonymity.

The first official said that since the expertise of what constitutes illegal content rests with the ministry in question, the proposal to have a designated official was under consideration.

So far, the removal of content on the platforms is carried out by a designated agent appointed by the central government, who can issue content blocking orders under Section 69 (A) of the Internet Technologies Act. information. A bifurcation in the new guidelines also created a parallel mechanism to allow the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to issue orders under the same section.

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