FAQ: New ‘Digital India Act’ Will Look to Police Misinformation and Doxxing

The new set of IT Laws aims to tackle issues like privacy, net neutrality, and new technologies.

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FAQ: New ‘Digital India Act’ Will Look to Police Misinformation and Doxxing
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The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) is working on a new set of rules to criminalise deliberate misinformation and doxxing, as part of a new piece of legislation to govern the India's digital ecosystem, according to The Indian Express.

This legislation, known as the Digital India Act, is set to replace the IT Act, 2000, which is over two decades old.

Here's all you need to know.


Why is the government criminalising online offences?

The rationale behind criminalising doxxing and deliberate misinformation is that offences in the online world are unique to the online world and cannot be policed by laws designed for the offline world.

Under the present IT laws, there is no provision for spreading misinformation online, which is seen through the lens of defamation. The new Act seeks to separate the two and classify the deliberate spreading of misinformation as an offence in and of itself.

What is doxxing?

Doxxing involves looking up the details of people’s lives, usually by digging through their social media profiles, publicly available data, government records, and even comments across old and defunct message boards.

Will social media companies be held accountable?

A senior government official emphasised that social media companies like Meta and Twitter will also be held accountable for their role in abetting deliberate misinformation, The Indian Express reported.

When will the legislation be enacted?

The laws have been drafted by the IT ministry, however there has been no timeline established for when it will be enacted into law.


How does the government plan to regulate the digital sector?

The Indian government is in the process of creating a legal and executive architecture to support India's digital ambitions. It includes:

  • A data governance policy framework

  • Cybersecurity policies and guidelines

  • A new data protection law

  • The proposed Digital India Act

”What you’re seeing today are the building blocks of the overall architecture for the next 10 years of India’s tech economy,” Chandrasekhar told The Economic Times.

The Digital India Act will reportedly regulate net neutrality, online privacy, algorithmic accountability of social media platforms and new and emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and The Economic Times)

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