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Govt Of India Sends Final Notice To Twitter On New IT Rules

Non-Compliance Can Lead To Unintended Consequences

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
I am a mumbai based journalist having worked with many daily newspapers.

INDIA. Mumbai: The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has sent a final notice to Twitter Inc to comply with the new Information Technology (IT) rules failing which the exemption from liability available under section 79 of the IT Act 2000 shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT act and other penal laws of India.

In a letter dated June 05 addressed to Twitter Inc, USA, Rakesh Maheshwari, Group Coordinator, Cyber Law, Meity stated that two letters were sent to Twitter on May 26 and May 28, 2021. Twitter’s response to these letters came respectively on May 28 and June 02. However, Twitter did not clarify the points raised by the Meity. “Your response neither addresses the clarification sought by the ministry nor indicates full compliance with the rules”, the letter stated.

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“The provision for social media intermediates under the rules have already come into force on May 26 and it has been more than a week the Twitter has refused to comply with these rules. Needless to state such non-compliance will lead to unintended consequences including Twitter being losing exemption from liability as intermediary available under section 79 of the IT Act(amended in 2019). This has been provided under rule 7 of the aforesaid rules”.

“Despite being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly refused to create a mechanism that will enable the people of India to resolve the issues on the platform in the timely and transparent manner and through fair processes, by India-based identified resources. Leave alone proactively creating such a mechanism, Twitter Inc, is in the inglorious bracket of refusing to do so even when mandated by law”, the letter stated. 

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“The people of India, who used Twitter platform, deserve and demand a fair mechanism, to address their grievances and resolve their disputes. Users who are abused on the platform or are harassed or are subject to defamation or sexual abuse or become victims of or a whole range of other abusive content must get a redressal mechanism that the same people of India have created through a due process of law”. 

The ministry in a notice said that the new intermediary guideline rules have become effective from May 26, 2021, and it has been more than a week but Twitter has refused to comply with the provisions of these rules. ”It is clear from the responses till date that Twitter has not informed about the details of the Chief Compliance Officer as required under the rules,” the ministry’s notice stated. Further, the Resident Grievance Officer and Nodal Contact Person nominated is not an employee of Twitter Inc. in India as prescribed in the rules, it added.

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”The office address of Twitter Inc. as mentioned by you is that of a law firm in India, which is also not as part of the rules,” it added. Failure to comply with new IT rules will lead to Twitter losing exemption from liability under IT Act, draw penal provisions, the MeitY notice said. It may be recalled that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were notified on February 25,2021 and concerned parties were required to ensure compliance within three months.

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