India: Analysis Of The Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018

Last Updated: 29 March 2019
Article by S.S. Rana & Co. Advocates

The basis for enforcement and enactment of the Information Technology Act,2000 was to provide recognition to e-commerce and e-transactions and also to protect the users from digital crimes, piracy etc. The Ministry of Electronics and IT has prepared the Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018 (hereinafter referred to as "2018 Rules") in order to prevent spreading of fake news, curb obscene information on the internet, prevent misuse of social-media platforms and to provide security to the users. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011(hereinafter referred to as " 2011 Rules)created a lot of heat waves in the digital world with regard to the duties and liabilities of the intermediaries even after safe harbor protection provided under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act,2000(hereinafter referred to as "the Act"). Section 79 of the Act provided that the Intermediaries or any person providing services as a network service provider are exempted from the liabilities in certain instances. In 2018, the government has come out with certain changes in the 2011 Rules and has elaborately explained the liabilities and functions of the Intermediaries and to oversee that the social media platform is not misused.

The Rule 2018 categorically specifies that the intermediaries must inform to the users of the computer resource about the Rules and regulations and privacy policy so as to not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information which might affect public health and safety and Critical Information structure. No such provision was present in the Draft Rule 2011 and it is observed that the government is taking necessary and needful steps time and again to aware people about the detrimental effects of consumption of cigarettes and intoxication. It is an important step taken towards public safety as social media platform is one of the most common platform used by every sections of the society as well as by every age group. The government has also taken an initiative to protect critical information structure against cyber terrorism, cyber warfare and other threats.

Initially in the rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011, it has been stated that any content posted online which was illegal as per the list of categories laid down in Rule 3(2) of the 2011 Rules, then the affected person could write to the concerned intermediary to remove the same. It was mandatory for the intermediary to Act within 36 hours of receiving such complaint and if the same is not done with such a time period, then, the said intermediary cannot avail safe harbor as provided in Section 79 of the Act. The provision was criticized by the intermediaries, and a clarification was issued by the government by stating that the redressal to be resolved by the intermediaries within thirty days from the receipt of such complaints. However, the said provision was removed in its entirety in the 2018 Rules as the rule was unclear with regard to what constitutes redressal and no guidelines with regard to that was provided in the 2011 Rules.

In order to make the internet security more stringent, the intermediaries are now required as per 2018 Rules to inform the user once every month about the fact that if the Rules and regulations, privacy policy and user agreement to access or usage of Intermediary computer resource are not complied with, then the intermediaries reserves the right to terminate such access and usage. The government have made it compulsory for the intermediaries to follow such Rules within the time limit prescribed whereas, no such time limit was provided for in 2011 Rules. It will Act as a constant reminder for the users about such policies and regulations and prevent them from committing breach, which can lead to bad repercussions.

The 2018 Rules further provides that whenever an order is issued by the government agencies seeking information or assistance concerning cyber security, then the intermediaries must provide them the same within 72 hours. Initially such request could have been made only through writing but now the government has included that such requests can now be made even via electronic means. If the authorized functionaries demands, then the intermediaries are also required to trace out the originator of the information and break the end-to-end encryption. The reason behind such a rule is that in case any rumours are being spread that are detrimental to the security of the Nation then the government will be able to trace out the originator or sender of the message. Such Rules are going to hit the companies like WhatsApp who had declined the government's demand for traceability of originator of messages and content citing end to end encryption.

The recent rule also requires to "disable access" within 24 hours to content deemed defamatory or against national security and other clauses under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution. The Rules also requires the companies having more than five lakh users to have an office in India duly registered under the Companies Act. The big intermediaries are required to get their companies registered in India which will subject them to pay higher taxes. The 2018 Rules also requires appointment of a nodal officer who will be able to work with the law enforcement agencies round the clock. Initially in 2011 Rules, the intermediaries were required to store the information and such records for a period of ninety days but in 2018 Rules the time period has been extended to 180 days, thereby enabling the government to have such records available for a longer period of time and take necessary Actions as and when required.

The intermediaries are also required to deploy such technologies based on automated tools and appropriate mechanism for the purpose of identifying or removing or disabling access to unlawful information.

It can be perused from the above that the government is taking crucial steps to make legal frameworks in order to make social media accountable under law and protect people and intermediaries from misusing the same. It is also notices that the government has taken steps to protect the Freedom of Speech and Expression as provided in the Constitution of India as no regulations have been drafted with respect to the contents appearing on the social media. The Rules will make internet companies and social media more accountable for their contents.

Recently, as per reports, it has been stated that WhatsApp had opposed the proposed intermediaries' rules which required the intermediaries to disclose information with regard to the origin of the messages, as it would violate free speech rights and privacy of an individual. Whereas, as per the intermediaries guidelines which is to be announced after elections would include penalties and jail terms for the executives of social media companies and the messaging apps who would not comply with the laid down rules regarding message traceability. The Government has taken this step to crack down on fake and inflammatory posts and messages that can cause violence including lynching across the country. The WhatsApp is of the view that such norms and guidelines are too broad and cannot be complied with considering the end-to-end encryption provided by the company to its users. The company had stated that it had made significant product changes and functioned with civil society partners to address misinformation through public education campaigns but the Government was not satisfied with the said response given by the company. As per the company, the traceability of the origin of messages and posts would mean re-engineering core product and would have global ramification and further have an impact on user privacy.

For further information please contact at S.S Rana & Co. email: or call at (+91- 11 4012 3000). Our website can be accessed at

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions