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Government notifies complaints appeals boards to deal with complaints against social media firms

The Center has notified three Complaints Appeal Boards to deal with user complaints on social media and other internet platforms. According to the announcement, each of the three GACs (complaints appeals committee) will have a chairman, two permanent members from different government entities and retired industry executives for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office.

The first panel will be chaired by the Executive Director of India’s Cyber ​​Crime Coordination Center under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashutosh Shukla and former Chief General Manager and Chief Information Officer Sunil Soni of Punjab National Bank (PNB) have been appointed as permanent members of the panel.

The second panel will be chaired by the Joint Secretary in-charge of the Department of Policy and Administration in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Commodore Sunil Kumar Gupta and Kavindra Sharma, former vice president (consulting), L and T Infotech, have been appointed as permanent members of this panel.

The third panel will be chaired by Kavita Bhatia, Senior Scientist, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Former Indian Railways Transport Services Officer Sanjay Goel and former CEO and Managing Director of IDBI Intech Krishnagiri Ragothamarao have been appointed as permanent members of the third panel.

Establishment of the GAC

The announcement is part of tougher IT rules announced in October 2022 for the establishment of government-appointed GACs. The establishment of the GAC aims to address issues that users may have against the way social media platforms initially handled their complaints regarding content and other matters.

After announcing IT rules for social media, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said compliance with rules and laws is not a ‘pick and choose’ or ‘pick and choose’ option for platforms.

He warned that if and when the rules are not followed, the “safe harbor protection” these platforms enjoy will be lost. The provision of a safe harbor under IT laws provides internet platforms – social media, e-commerce, etc. – with protection from content posted by users.

The minister said “The government looks at the internet through the prism of keeping it safe and responsible for 120 million digital nagriks (digital citizens). A secure and trusted internet is an integral part of the goal of a multi-trillion dollar digital economy”.

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