DIGITAL INDIA BILL 2023 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Governance)

News-CRUX-10     29th September 2023        

Context: The government is currently developing a comprehensive strategy to oversee the implementation of emerging technologies. As part of this initiative, there is a possibility of imposing explicit restrictions on certain cutting-edge technologies, particularly those deemed hazardous to users' well-being or those posing potential national security threats.

Digital India Bill 2023

  • Aim: The Digital India Bill 2023 aims to replace India’s existing Information Technology Act of 2000 and provide comprehensive oversight of the digital landscape.
  • This Bill will operate in coordination with other significant laws and policies, including but not limited to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, the National Data Governance Policy, and the Indian Penal Code amendments addressing cybercrime.

Provisions of Bill

  • Classification: The regulations seek to categorize intermediaries, including social media platforms, e-commerce platforms, AI platforms, and fact-checking platforms, with specific rules tailored to each category.
  • Risk Assessments for Intermediaries: Intermediaries will be required to conduct risk assessments and utilize this data to classify themselves into relevant categories based on their operations and services.
  • Establishment of a New Internet Regulator: A new regulatory authority for the internet will be established, akin to existing bodies like TRAI or SEBI.
  • Additional Provisions: MeitY could potentially designate activities such as deliberate misinformation, identity theft, and cyberbullying of children as punishable offenses.
  • Fundamental Rules: Some of the foundational rules currently applicable to internet platforms, including safe harbor provisions, may undergo modifications in light of these proposed regulations.
  • Penalties for Violations: The regulations may introduce penalties for violations and user-related harms associated with emerging technologies, encompassing generative AI platforms like ChatGPT, as part of the regulatory framework.

Information Technology Act, 2000

  • IT Act, 2000, governs all activities related to the use of computer resources.
  • It covers all ‘intermediaries’ who play a role in the use of computer resources and electronic records.
  • Section 69 of the IT Act: It confers on the Central and State governments the power to issue directions to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.