Context: The criticisms levelled against the IT Rules and the idea of an atmanirbhar internet are baseless.
What are the arguments in favor of IT Rules?
Firstly, it will strike a balance between the commercial interests of social media platforms and the rights of its citizens in the digital sphere.
Secondly, Nodal officers will facilitate coordination with law enforcement agencies. It will provide a platform for a victim to seek urgent recourse. For ex; a swift action can be taken in cases like Sulli Deals and the Bulli Bai controversies.
Third, Courts also have regularly pulled up social media platforms for failing in ensuring a safe and dependable platform for their users. For example, Recently, the Delhi High Court questioned Twitter for its lax response in blocking an account that was insulting Hindu deities.
Fourth, Critics of IT rules are mistaking IT minister’s call for an atmanirbhar internet for protectionism. However, they have been proved wrong by the success of RuPay Cards and Unified Payments Interface as an alternative to Visa and MasterCard. Thus, new initiatives encourage the development of alternative organic ecosystems and ensure that we are not left at the mercy of tech giants.
Fifth, the argument that compliance officers of social media intermediaries would be criminally liable for content on their platforms, is also misplaced. In reality, social media intermediaries enjoy the privilege of legal immunity under Indian law. Criminal liability is only imposed upon failure to observe measures of due diligence.
Lastly, Policy makers across the US have raised concerns about the hegemony of Big Tech and have introduced legislation to curb the same.
Source: This post is created based on the article “Atmanirbhar internet is about self-sufficiency, not protectionism” published in Indian Express on 28th April, 2022.