The Central government is considering regulating a wide gamut of online platforms including social media sites, e-commerce entities, fact-checking portals and artificial intelligence (AI)-based platforms under a fresh legislation, which is expected to replace the Information Technology Act, 2000.

 

Background

  • The Central government will release the draft Digital India Bill for public consultation by the end of this month.
  • The Digital India Act will subsume the Information Technology Act 2020, which according to experts and government officials need a revamp owing to changing internet scenarios.
  • The proposed bill, alongside the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, 2022 whose draft was released recently, will contribute to the evolving framework which is light on regulation, safeguards consumer rights and catalyses innovation.

 

Key aspects of Digital India Bill

  • The government is considering a departure from the long-held understanding of ‘intermediaries’ on the Internet — sites that typically act as a platform for users to access services on the Internet.
    • Present Scenario –
      • Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, there is no classification of intermediaries.
    • Proposal –
      • The new law will prescribe different kinds of intermediaries because their regulation has to be different.
      • Intermediaries will be bucketed as social media platforms, e-commerce platforms, AI platforms, fact-checking platforms etc.
  • New Regulator for Internet –
    • The new Bill is also expected to prescribe a new regulator for the online space along the lines of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) or the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
    • The new law is also expected to introduce penal consequences for violations, and prescribe governing provisions for emerging technologies like the metaverse and blockchain.
  • Once finalised, the Bill will impact Big Tech companies like Google, Amazon, Meta, Amazon and Apple, among others.

 

About Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022

  • Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been deliberating on various aspects of digital personal data and its protection, and has formulated a draft Bill, titled ‘The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022’.
  • The purpose of the draft Bill is to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes.
  • The Bill frames out the rights and duties of the citizen (Digital Nagrik) on one hand and the obligations to use collected data lawfully of the Data Fiduciary on the other hand.