Human Rights Council & Intermediary Guidelines, Part-1

On 11th June 2021, the UN special Rapporteurs wrote a letter to the Government of India offering their comments on the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The above-mentioned letter initially appreciated the commitment of the Government of India for ensuring the social media intermediaries more transparent and accountable about their operation. The letter further expressed the appreciating statements saying they are welcoming the Rule 4(8) (a).

For our readers Rule 4(8) (a) we would like to reproduce herein-

Where a significant social media intermediary removes or disables access to any information, data or communication link, under clause (b) of sub-rule (1) of rule 3 on its own accord, such intermediary shall,— (a) ensure that prior to the time at which such intermediary removes or disables access, it has  provided the user who has created, uploaded, shared, disseminated, or modified information, data or communication link using its services with a notification explaining the action being taken and the grounds or reasons for such action”.

This provision binds significant social media intermediary to notify the creator of information about the action which is being taken and the grounds for such action, before removing or disabling any information.

However, the Council showed serious concerns on some other parts of due diligence obligations and said that they may result in infringement of a wide range of human rights and expecting review, withdrawal and reconsideration of certain key aspects of the regulation in order to have consonance with the International human rights obligation.

The council referred to International human rights norms and standards on freedom of opinion and expression and recalled article 19 of the International Covenants on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR).

Further the letter referred to article 17 of ICCPR which provides international standards related to the right to privacy and clarified that the “right to privacy and freedom of expressions are interlinked in the digital age hence, encryption and anonymity are protected because of the critical role they can play in securing those rights”.

TO BE Continued……………………………………….

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