INTERMEDIARY LIABILITY

The Intermediary Liability project of SFLC.in deals with laws, policies, current events and other issues relating to the responsibilities, rights, duties and obligations of big and small technology intermediaries such as facebook, instagram, whatsapp, google etc. and the way their policies in relation to content moderation (what content is to be kept, what content needs to be removed and what are the grounds which decide what content is to be removed etc.) affect common users. We advocate equality, non-discrimination, transparency, protection of freedom of speech of users and the protection of people (specially vulnerable groups) from harmful content among other elements, to ensure that the internet remains a free, open and transparent space for all users and the governments or private corporations do not unjustly interfere with the digital rights of internet users.

We regularly engage in discussions, events, advocacy and writing articles and detailed reports on issues which are of concern to the common public and we have tirelessly worked in this space to ensure the protection of digital rights of citizens for the past decade.

IT Rules, 2021
  1. SFLC.in's analysis of the IT Rules. Link - https://sflc.in/analysis-information-technology-intermediary-guidelines-and-digital-media-ethics-code-rules-2021
  2. SFLC.in sent its submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation on the IT Rules. Link - https://sflc.in/sflcins-submission-parliamentary-committee-subordinate-legislation-information-technology
  3. SFLC.in's explainer/blogpost on the IT Rules, Twitter MD and UP Police: Actions and Options Ahead. Link - https://sflc.in/indias-it-rules-twitter-md-police-actions-options-ahead
  4. SFLC.in's explainer on Twitter, the Intermediary Guidelines Rules and the Safe Harbour Protection. Link - https://sflc.in/twitter-intermediary-guidelines-rules-and-safe-harbour-protection
  5. Challenge to Part II of the IT Rules before the Kerala High Court. Link - https://sflc.in/praveen-arimbrathodiyil-vs-union-india-sflcin-assists-challenging-part-ii-intermediary-rules-2021
  6. Learning Call on the IT Rules. Link - https://sflc.in/learning-call-intermediary-guidelines-rules-2021
Litigation

SFLC.in has regularly provided legal assistance and has participate in strategic litigation to protect the digital rights of the citizens. We have filed Writ Petitions, Public Interest Litigations (PILs) and intervention applications before the Supreme Court and the High Courts around India, for the protection of digital rights of citizens. We believe in making an impact through litigation and we have approached the courts on various occasions wherever we felt that unjust state action was violating the digital rights of common citizens.

We have filed cases relating to Internet Shutdowns, Data Protection, Privacy, surveillance and other similar areas.

We also keep a track of all the major cases around the country which have a bearing on Intermediary Liability law in India.

  1. Intermediary Liability Litigation Tracker - https://sflc.in/timeline-intermedia-liability
  2. IT Rules Litigation Tracker - (Under Development)
  3. SFLC.in's litigation tracker - https://sflc.in/litigation-tracker

     

Education and Training
  1. FAQs on Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011 - https://sflc.in/faq-intermediary-rules
  2. FAQs on The Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018 - https://sflc.in/faq-draft-amendment-intermediary-guidelines-rules-india
  3. Letter to the Parliamentary Committee on the Facebook issue: https://sflc.in/letter-standing-committee-information-technology-content-moderation-social-media-platforms
Advocacy & Policy
  1. Letter to the Parliamentary Committee on the Facebook issue: https://sflc.in/letter-standing-committee-information-technology-content-moderation-social-media-platforms

  2. SFLC.in sent its submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation on the IT Rules. Link - https://sflc.in/sflcins-submission-parliamentary-committee-subordinate-legislation-information-technology

Research and Reports
  1. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011: An Analysis -

    https://sflc.in/sites/default/files/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Information-Technology-Intermediaries-Guidelines-Rules-2011-An-Analysis.pdf

    The report discussed the contemporary intermediary liability regime in India, highlighted its shortcomings and presented takeaways from stakeholder consultations that were organized in four major cities. The Report also pointed out relevant existing research, and proposed a set of principles that should guide an ideal intermediary liability regime.

  2. Intermediary Liability 2.0: A Shifting Paradigm -

    https://sflc.in/sites/default/files/reports/Intermediary_Liability_2_0_-_A_Shifting_Paradigm.pdf

    The report was intended as a follow-up to the earlier report, necessitated in part by significant changes which were introduced in India’s intermediary liability regime through judicial pronouncements and the proposed amendment to the 2011 Rules. The report briefly goes over the current state of intermediary liability laws in the country, examines some notable litigations that have served to better define the contours of this legal framework, highlights ongoing litigations which were then ongoing which could significantly impact India’s intermediary liability regime in the future, evaluates the present legal framework for compliance with applicable international standards, and provide glimpses into the legal frameworks and case studies from other jurisdictions, also in areas such as right to be forgotten that are indirectly connected to intermediary liability but bear significant implications for it nonetheless.

  3. The Future of Intermediary Liability in India -

    https://sflc.in/sites/default/files/2020-01/SFLC.in%20-%20Intermediary_Liability_Report_%282020%29_1.pdf

    The Report analyzes the requirements and concepts which were proposed in the Draft Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018. It contains an in depth analysis of upload filters, traceability, Local office threshold and the 14-hour takedown, the legal issues involved, the ongoing and decided cases and includes recommendations in respect of the same.

  4. Content Take Downs on the World Wide Web: A Global Reality - https://sflc.in/content-take-downs-world-wide-web-global-reality

    This paper is a legal analysis of five key cases on global take downs from around the world, namely Swami Ramdev v. Facebook Inc. (India, Delhi High Court), Google v. CNIL (France, CJEU), Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v. Facebook Ireland Ltd. (Austria, CJEU), Google Inc. v. Equustek SolutionsInc. (Canadian Supreme Court), and X v. Twitter Inc. (Australia, Supreme Court of New South Wales). These judgments are the leading case law on the subject of global take downs internationally and the most recent case among these, the Delhi High Court case in Swami Ramdev v. Facebook Inc. discusses and relies on the remaining judgments.

Events & Participations
  1. March, 2019, Conference on the future of tech policy in India - https://sflc.in/conference-future-tech-policy-india
  2. August, 2019, Roundtable discussion on “Data Protection” and “Intermediary Liability” - https://sflc.in/internet-multi-stakeholder-roundtable-discussion
  3. June, 2020, Roundtable discussion on India’s Draft Intermediary Guidelines Amendments - https://sflc.in/multistakeholder-roundtable-indias-draft-intermediaries-guidelines-amendments
  4. Learning Call on the IT Rules. Link - https://sflc.in/learning-call-intermediary-guidelines-rules-2021
  5. Podcast with AllIndiansMatter - https://open.spotify.com/episode/5pmC90oC8onUkZVY6iMYWh?si=_kq9H6IRSCGgQbCOdurhjA&utm_source=native-share-menu&dl_branch=1
Press Coverage
  1. “From India to US, Forcing Proactive Policing of Online Content Is Censorship by Proxy”, Mishi choudhary and Prasanth Sugathan, The Wire, 01.07.2020; Available at: https://thewire.in/tech/online-content-policing-censorship
  2. “The delicate job of protecting online free speech” Sonal Khetarpal, January 20, 2020 Business Today; Available at: https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/regulations-are-important-to-protect-free-speech-online-say-experts-at-sflc-panel-on-intermediary-liability-law/story/394161.html
  3. Intermediaries guidelines 2018: Not trying to censor online platforms, says MeitY, by Shruti Dhapola, March 16, 2019; The Indian Express, Available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/intermediaries-guidelines-2018-not-trying-to-censor-says-meity-5628679/