Twitter May Loose Immunity Due to Failure of Compliance to New IT Rules: Centre to Court

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The Government on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that popular social media platform Twitter had been unsuccessful when it came to the compliance of the country’s new IT Rules, which might lead to losing immunity that is provided under the Information Technology or IT Act.

An affidavit filed in the high court, mentioned that the details obtained via Twitter’s website or application, as interim, the grievances that arose from India were being handled by an official located in the US which was non-compliant with the IT Rules, 2021. The IT Rules, 2021 are now the law of the land with Twitter having told that it is mandatorily to comply with the same.

The matter will be coming up for hearing today. In case you were wondering, the Centre’s affidavit, which was filed by N Samaya Balan, who is working as Scientist-E for the Cyber Law Group within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology or MeitY, added that Twitter was an intermediary under the meaning of a provision of the IT Act, 2000 as well as a Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI) under the new IT Rules of 2021.

What Does the Affidavit Mention?

It is mentioned that in spite of the three months of time provided to all SSMIs so as to meet with or comply to the new IT Rules 2021 having been expired on May 26, Twitter has failed to fully comply with the law. The IT Rules were first notified to the organisations on February 25.

The affidavit mentions that I (N Samaya Balan) submit that respondent no.2, which is Twitter had initially appointed the interim resident grievance officer (RGO) and the interim nodal contact person.

Later on, respondent no.2 (Twitter) informed the answering respondent which is MeitY that the interim RGO and nodal officer have withdrawn/ resigned from their positions.

Furthermore, it is mentioned that the Samaya Balan had submitted that as per the details gleaned from the respondent No. 2 websites/mobile application, in the interim the grievances from India are being handled by personnel of respondent No. 2 situated in the United States of America which amounts to non-compliance with the IT Rules 2021.

The affidavit, which was filed via the Central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj, added that the social media platform had failed to comply with the IT Rules, 2021 as of July 1 for the following reasons: the position of the RGO is vacant; the position of the nodal contact person is vacant, and the physical contact address, which was shown to be there on May 29, is not available again on the Twitter website and, the chief compliance officer has not been appointed.

The officer added that the authority had submitted the IT Rules 2021 and respondent no.2, which is Twitter is mandatorily required to comply with the same.

The Centre added that Twitter qualifies as an SSMI and is obligated to comply with the provisions of the IT Rules, 2021. On July 3, Twitter had also filed its affidavit stating that it was in the final stages when it came to the appointment of an interim chief compliance officer and an interim resident grievance officer under the new IT Rules. As of now, grievances being raised by Indian users are looked after by a grievance officer, Twitter had mentioned.

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Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's also getting to grips with Telecom. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.

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