Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Draft Digital India Bill to be released for consultation

Centre is likely to release the draft of the Digital India Bill for public consultation within the next 15 days, The Economic Times (ET) reported on Tuesday. It may contain provisions requiring companies to inform the users of how their data is being used.
The bill was due to be released last month but was delayed due to the need for fresh consultations with experts on topics like fact-checking and misinformation, the report cited a senior official as saying.
In the draft, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) may prescribe “no-go” areas for internet intermediaries and companies that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These areas will include aspects where there may be potential harm to the users.
The companies may also have to inform users how their data is being processed, and violation may attract “severe penalties”.
It may also include provisions for possessing and distributing child sexual abuse and unauthorised use of government-issued IDs.
The bill does not aim to amend the 23-year-old IT Act of 2000 but to entirely replace it. It may also put restraints on big tech firms like Alphabet and Meta.
In March, the Centre initiated the outreach for consultations with experts across major cities, including Bengaluru and Mumbai. The Centre also conducted two rounds of public consultations at the pre-draft stage.
This will be the third major overhaul of the IT Act. In 2022, the ministry withdrew an older version of the Data Protection Bill as it was pending for over three years. A new bill, Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, was released in November last year and is likely to be introduced in the Monsoon session of the Parliament this year.


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