India: towards greater accountability of intermediaries?

Indian authorities are considering amending the Information Technology Act 2000. Article 79 deals with the exemption of intermediaries from liability, imposing on them an obligation of diligence as to the lawfulness of the contents. In the course of 2018, the government informed the elected officials of its determination to modify the legal framework in the sense of greater accountability of intermediaries.

These rules, called Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018, would require intermediaries with more than 5 million users in India to have a registered subsidiary in India. It goes without saying that this provision is intended to facilitate the liability of the intermediary.

The bill also aims to require intermediaries to prohibit their users from publishing content or promoting products that are hazardous to health, specifically targeting tobacco, alcohol, and cosmetics. Furthermore, the platforms themselves would have the obligation to deploy automated tools to proactively identify and delete or disable illegal content.

Finally, among the new provisions envisaged, it is also necessary to note the requirement, formulated by the Indian Government, of greater cooperation in the suppression of the illicit contents and the identification of the authors of such contents.

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