The government is working on a Digital India Act to incorporate new rules for stopping internet-aided circulation of illegal, criminal and child sexual abuse material, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar said on Friday.
Addressing a conference on ‘Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)’, hosted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at the Vigyan Bhawan here, the minister of state for electronics and information technology, said this will make internet service providers (ISPs) and other intermediaries more accountable for hosting offensive content.
He said the existing Information Technology Act does not address the challenges of the present times. “Hence, the government formed the IT Rules, 2021, and amended it in 2022 to make intermediaries liable, and it is also proposing to bring a digital technology law,” Chandrashekhar said.
The minister said the government is committed to encouraging the use of internet by people as a tool for their empowerment but it also wants it to be safe and trusted. It is obligatory on the part of intermediaries being the service providers to remove illegal and criminal content, he said.
The government is working on a Digital India Act incorporating new rules for stopping internet-aided circulation of illegal, criminal and child sexual abuse material, and also cover online gaming, Chandrashekhar said.
He said the weight of the lobby for free expression and privacy cannot be a cow for criminality. “Even if a person is anonymous, the intermediaries have to disclose the originator of such content. The internet which was seen as a tool for the empowerment of the people morphed into an ecosystem that thrives on criminality and illegality, which is an all-time high now,” Chandrashekhar said.
However, he also said CSAM is a consequence of something happening outside the internet, which needs to be addressed under separate provisions of the law.
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