How do we respond to The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021?

PP Pirate Praveen Public Seen by 80

Link to the full notification -

Internet Freedom Foundation analysis -

Software Freedom Law Center India analysis - analysis -

We will have to comply with requirements of a social media intermediary, many of the services we offer qualify for this including,, etc.


Social media intermediary

an intermediary which primarily or solely enables online interaction between two or more  users and  allows  them to create,  upload, share, disseminate, modify or access information using its services. [Rule 2(w)]

You can go through the links shared above to understand our liabilities.

b. Grievance redressal mechanism: Rule 3(2)(a)

...requiring the grievance officer to acknowledge the complaint within twenty four hours and also sets a limit of fifteen days for disposing off the complaint.

k. Non-applicability of Safe Harbour: Rule 7

If an intermediary fails to observe the rules, it shall not be entitled to the safe harbour protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

So we will be directly liable to the content shared by any users if we fail to comply.

f. Traceability Requirement or the Originator Requirement: Rule 4(2)

This provision requires a significant social media intermediary providing services primarily in the nature of messaging to identify “first originator” of the information on a computer resource. In order to acquire such information, the Rules require an order issued under Section 69 of IT Act or a judicial order.

We need to discuss and come up with an action plan.


Pirate Praveen Tue 16 Mar 2021 6:05PM

Traceability requirement seems to apply only for significant social media intermediary, but then govt can change the criteria any time to decide who is a significant intermediary. Significant social media intermediary - “a social media intermediary having number of registered  users in India above such threshold as notified by the Central Government.” [Rule 2(v)]


sahilister Wed 17 Mar 2021 1:44AM

@Pirate Praveen The traceability or any other requirement, can be leveraged towards any intermediary on order. From Part II, 6(1):

Notification of other intermediary.—(1)The Ministry may by order, for reasons to be recorded in writing, require any intermediary, which is not a significant social media intermediary, to comply with all or any of the obligations mentioned under rule 4, if the services of that intermediary permits the publication or transmission of information in a manner that may create a material risk of harm to the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order.


sahilister Wed 17 Mar 2021 1:45AM

Link to the full notification - (Hindi/English)

@Pirate Praveen can you add this link in thread description as well?


Pirate Praveen Wed 17 Mar 2021 6:16PM

Done, thanks!


sahilister Wed 17 Mar 2021 2:06AM

Part II, 6(2)(b)

(b) the publication or transmission of information to a significant number of other users as would be likely to result in widespread dissemination of such information.

Part II, 6(3)

(3) An order under this rule may be issued in relation to a specific part of the computer resources of any website, mobile based application or both, as the case may be, if such specific part is in the nature of an intermediary:

Provided that where such order is issued, an entity may be required to comply with all or any of the obligations mentions under rule4, in relation to the specific part of its computer resource which is in the nature of an intermediary.

From my interpretation, blogs (including personal and, would also get covered if they have "significant users" and "spread information". These would likely get take down notices and information requests for any user interaction (read comments) is enabled.

It can be argued if wiki sites like Wikipedia might also be covered by Part II, 6(2)(b).


Pirate Praveen Wed 17 Mar 2021 6:23PM

I think we should add a big warning in tos and privacy policy and during sign up.

1. We may be forced to do these things under these rules. 2. Recommend services outside India or p2p as a better option 3. Support organizations like IFF, for short term fight in challenging the rules in court 4. Call to join politics for long term sustainable change.


Pirate Praveen Wed 17 Mar 2021 6:26PM

So I propose first step we need to do is create a statement, 1. How these rules affect our rights as citizens in general. 2. How we as a community providing services to public is going to be affected. 3. What are the possible short term actions we can do to resist. 4. What are the long term actions we need to do to prevent such things from happening in future.


Pirate Praveen Wed 17 Mar 2021 6:28PM

Second step would be updating tos and privacy policy with a link to this statement. And third step would be a call to action as a banner from every page.


Pirate Praveen Wed 17 Mar 2021 6:28PM

and probably fourth step to encourage more organizations to join this call for action from their websites and social media presence.


Pirate Praveen Wed 17 Mar 2021 7:01PM

I have started a draft here lets give 3 days for comments before we propose a vote here.

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