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Google India becomes 1st SSMI to publish Transparency report under New IT rules

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Google India became the 1st technology company which is qualified as ‘Significant Social Media Intermediaries (SSMIs)’ to publish a Transparency report under the new ‘Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’.

  • Transparency report includes details of complaints received from users in India and the action taken across Google’s platform between April 1-30, 2021.
  • SSMIs are technology platforms which have more than 5 million users.

New IT Rules

The ‘Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’ has been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011. It was released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

i.Objective – The rules have been framed after growing concerns about lack of transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media.

ii.The new IT rules aim to establish a soft-touch self-regulatory architecture and a Code of Ethics and three tier grievance redressal mechanism for news publishers and OTT Platforms and digital media.

iii.The rule prescribes steps to be followed by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries for ensuring transparency, accountability and rights of users.

iv.It mandates SSMIs (or platforms with over 5 million users) to

  • Appoint a Chief Compliance Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India.
  • Appoint a Nodal Contact Person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
  • Appoint a Resident Grievance Officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
  • Publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.

v.Social Media intermediaries were given a three-month period to comply with the new rules.

Administration of Rules

Part-II of the New IT rules which deal with ‘DUE DILIGENCE BY INTERMEDIARIES AND GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM’ will be administered by MeitY, while Part-III which deals with Code of Ethics and Procedure and safeguards regarding digital media will be administered by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Recent Related News:

i.On November 4, 2020 The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting(MIB) constituted a 4-member committee to review “Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India” notified by the ministry in 2014. The committee is headed by Shashi S. Vempati, CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Prasar Bharti.

ii.On November 11, 2020, Government of India issued an order to bring digital or online Media, films and audio-visual programmes, news portal and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Ministry of I&B).

About Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)

Union Minister – Ashwini Vaishnaw (Rajya Sabha – Odisha)
MoS – Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Rajya Sabha – Karnataka)

About Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

Union Minister – Anurag Singh Thakur (Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh)
MoS – L. Murugan