In an affidavit filed in court by Chief Justice DN Patel and Judge Jyoti Singh, the centre said the new rules aim to remove content such as “revengeful pornography” and other posts that violate physical privacy. “The removal of a partially nude image from its computer resources based on a complaint from the victim of that image cannot in any way be said to affect a user’s right to freedom of expression,” said the centre in the document. The Union government also said that the IT rules include provisions that intermediaries providing services in the form of messaging must work with law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to be the first to create information related to sexual abuse and rape material Identify children (CSAM).
“Major social media intermediaries will endeavor to use technology-based measures to identify any act or simulation of rape and children involved in sexually explicit acts in accordance with the guarantees of the rules,” the government said. The centre submitted a new affidavit in response to a petition filed by Uday Bedi, a practicing advocate, who challenged Rules 3 and 4 of the Information Technology Rules (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) of 2021, which had been brought in force on February 25, 2021 as a user of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram etc.
It found that the rules are intended to benefit a common user using an intermediation platform and provide for a number of checks and balances for removing illegal content or information from social media platforms. According to the affidavit, other important reasons for the promulgation of the IT Rules 2021 are the significant expansion of the online broker ecosystem in the last 10 years, the exponential growth of social media users, the availability of unregulated content in communication devices, the growth of the Online social media platforms. Last month, the centre defended the IT rules by saying it was the legal obligation of social media intermediaries Facebook and WhatsApp to develop a mechanism to identify the first sender of information without end-to-end encryption or violating a user’s privacy.