Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 – An Analysis

The Government notified the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules in April 2011 prescribing guidelines for the intermediaries. However these Rules raise serious concerns since neither the service providers nor the end users are able to understand the extent of their rights and duties due to the ambiguous and unexplained nature of the terms constituting unlawful content under these Rules. Concerns were also raised by users as to how the Rules could adversely affect their rights to freedom of speech and expression.

In order to address these issues,SFLC.inhas carried out extensive empirical as well as doctrinal research regarding the constitutionality of these Rules and the way it affects the users and intermediaries. This was done by way of organizing Round-table consultations in New Delhi, Bangalore, Cochin and Mumbai, which helped in compiling and analyzing varied views from cross-sections of the society pertaining to the safe harbour regime. We also did a comparative analysis of such protection provided in other jurisdictions.

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