Govt. forms grievance appellate bodies for SM complaints
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1 year ago 06:00:22am Television

Govt. forms grievance appellate bodies for SM complaints

New Delhi, 02-May-2023, By IBW Team

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The Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) set up by the government to look into users’ complaints against large social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will commence operation from March 1, the Ministry of Electronics and IT said on January 28.

The Center or the federal government of India notified the three GACs under an amendment to IT Rules 2021 notified in October.

“Keeping in view of the transition period required for the intermediaries as per their requests and technical requirement, the online platform will be operational in one month of this notification of the Grievance Appellate Committee, i.e. from 1st March 2023,” an official statement said, according to a PTI report.

According to the notification, each of the three GACs will have a chairperson, two whole-time members from various government entities and retired senior executives from the industry for a term of three years from the date of assumption of office.

“The GAC is a critical piece of overall policy and legal framework to ensure that the Internet in India is open, safe and trusted and accountable. The need for GAC was created due to large numbers of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by internet intermediaries. GAC is expected to create a culture of responsiveness amongst all Internet Platforms and Intermediaries towards their consumers,” the statement said.

The GAC will be a virtual digital platform that will operate only online and digitally — wherein the entire process, from filing of appeal to the decision thereof, will be conducted digitally.

“Users will have the option to appeal against the decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body. The Committee will endeavour to address the user’s appeal within a period of 30 days,” the statement added.

According to the notification, each of the three GACs will have a chairperson, two whole-time members from various government entities and retired senior executives from the industry for a term of three years from the date of assumption of office.

The first panel will be chaired by the chief executive officer of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashutosh Shukla and Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) former chief general manager and chief information officer Sunil Soni have been appointed as the whole-time members of the panel.

The second panel will be chaired by the joint secretary in charge of the Policy and Administration Division in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The third panel will be chaired by Kavita Bhatia, a senior scientist at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Former traffic service officer of the Indian Railways Sanjay Goel and former managing director and chief executive officer of IDBI Intech Krishnagiri Ragothamarao have been appointed as the whole-time members of the third panel.

The notification is part of the tighter IT rules, notified in October 2022 for setting up government-appointed GACs.

After the notification of the IT rules for social media, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar had said the compliance of rules and laws was not a “pick-and-choose” or “cherry-picking” option for the platforms.

He had cautioned that if and when rules are not followed, the “safe harbour protection” that these platforms enjoy falls away. The provision of safe harbour under IT laws gives internet platforms — social media, e-commerce etc — protection from the content posted by users.

“The government looks at the internet through the prism of keeping it safe and accountable for 120 crore digital nagriks (digital citizens). Safe and trusted internet is an integral part of the trillion dollar digital economy goal,” the Minister had said.


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