Our Counter Comments to MeitY on the Draft Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018

Intermediary liability, intermediary guidelines, freedom of speech, privacy

The Draft Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules], 2018 (“the Draft Rules”), were issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (“MeitY”) on the 24th of December, 2018. The Draft Rules seek to amend existing ‘due diligence’ guidelines [The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011] which are to be followed by ‘intermediaries’ [as per the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”)]. Section 79 of the IT Act provides for a safe-harbour to intermediaries for, “any third party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him”. Intermediaries are required to observe due diligence while discharging their duties under the IT Act and observe guidelines as laid down by the Central Government.

We had submitted detailed comments to MeitY on the Draft Rules on January 31, 2019, highlighting concerns like - the 'one size fits all' approach to regulation; use of vague and ambiguous terms; violation of free speech and privacy rights; excessive delegation of legislative powers; and lack of procedural safeguards. Our detailed comments can be found, here.

Subsequently, MeitY had uploaded the comments it received from various stakeholders in two batches, they can be found, here and here.

The time period for submitting counter comments to MeitY concluded on February 14, 2019 and we submitted our detailed counter comments to MeitY on the due date. Our counter comments as submitted to MeitY are as follows: