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'Tech firms must take responsibility for its content'

IANS  |  New Delhi 

With spread on platforms coming under increased scrutiny ahead of the general election, a top on Friday said cannot escape responsibility for harmful content on their platforms.

"As a patient I can tell what is my problem, but tech companies should act as a doctor or and tell me how are they solving it," Gopalakrishnan S., Joint Secretary, and (MeitY) said at a conference here hosted by (, a Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation.

"They cannot escape responsibility. There is a liability on intermediaries to minimise the harm. You can't have an intermediary say that I don't care how people are using my platform. There is a huge social cost, political cost," he added.

In the (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2019, the government has proposed that if a tech platform or intermediary has over 50 lakh subscribers in India, they should assume extra liability or responsibility.

The rules propose that such companies should have a permanent registered office in the country and appoint in a nodal person of contact among others.

"Our idea is not to bother all intermediaries, especially the small ones, with little impact," Gopalakrishnan S. said.

Participating at the discussion, Siddharth Jain, of Police, Police, lamented that in certain cases the police have no way of finding out the person involved in a cyber crime.

"and have done better, but others need catching up to do," he said.

"The response times of intermediaries is not uniform. Those intermediaries who are based in tend to provide us requested information in 24 or 48 hours. For foreign based intermediaries, if the user is Indian or based in India, the response is better. However in case of a foreign user posting illegal content targeting India, their response is not so good," Jain said.

Messaging platforms like uses end-to-end which means that except the sender and the recipient, nobody else, including WhatsApp, can see the messages shared on the platform.

"Privacy can't be used as a defence when safety of life is an issue," Jain said, adding that a special cyber cell has been set up in Dwarka for capacity building by Police.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 16:10 IST