IT MoS to contact stakeholders on Digital India Bill in Bengaluru

IT MoS to contact stakeholders on Digital India Bill in Bengaluru

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Tech (MeitY) will on Thursday perform the first stakeholder consultation conference on the Digital India Bill to replace the 23-year-old Information Technology Act of 2000.

Minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar will be in Bengaluru on Thursday to meet industry representatives, lawyers, intermediaries and consumer groups among others to discuss the principles the proposed law will be based on and invite their inputs.

"The #DigitalIndiaAct will be enacted, built & designed with a consultation. Be a part of the #DigitalIndiaDialogues on #DIA4DigitalNagriks," Chandrasekhar tweeted on Wednesday, with details of the timing and venue of the programme.

Some of those who have been invited said the safe harbor provision is the primary enabler of an open Internet and that there is a need to preserve this principle to not just protect free speech but also secure online safety.

The state also has a legitimate interest in mandating content blocking if it violates the law of the land. However, the orders must be based on the rule of law and there are requisite procedural safeguards in this regard, they said.

With rising instances of online gender-based violence, the new law must specifically focus on online safety with guidelines to promote effective grievance redressal and prosecution of perpetrators, some other stakeholders said, adding that criminal liability should be removed from content regulation.

Other suggestions include reinforcing global best practices in communications such as end-to-end encryption, which are proven to be critical for user safety and privacy; envisaging procedural safeguards on CERT-In powers to align security concerns with user privacy; and adopting sustainable co-regulatory models for effective regulation of metaverse and Web 3.0.

"The minister will hold a consultation on the soon-to-be-introduced Digital India Bill - a future-ready legislation that aims to replace the existing IT Act and provide a strong framework for India’s Techade. These consultations are a part of the Digital India Dialogues to develop a consultative approach to law and policy making," a statement from MeitY said.

The upcoming Bill will also propose a regulator for the digital space and specify penal consequences for flouting rules. Emerging arenas such as blockchain and metaverse will also be governed under the Bill, officials have said in the past.

They added that the Bill might contain provisions to protect the non-personal data of citizens and also that aspects of citizens' data portability would be taken into account.