Parl panel moots greater accountability for social media platforms, non-personal data regulation

New Delhi: A parliamentary committee on Thursday recommended widening the scope of proposed data protection legislation to include both personal and non-personal data and sought greater accountability for social media platforms by treating them as publishers.

The Joint Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, headed by BJP MP PP Chaudhary, tabled its report in both the Houses on Thursday.

The key highlights of the report include widening the scope of the draft legislation to also cover non-personal data, tighter regulation for social media platforms and the establishment of a statutory media regulatory authority, according to a release by the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

The panel has also favoured a framework to regulate hardware manufacturers, who also collect data along with the software. It has favoured a mechanism for certification of all digital and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

"The committee, considering the immediate need to regulate social media intermediaries, have expressed a strong view that these designated intermediaries may be working as publishers of the content in many situations, owing to the fact that they have the ability to select the receiver of the content and also exercise control over the access to any such content hosted by them," the report said, asserting that a mechanism must be devised for their regulation.

The panel recommended that all social media platforms, which do not act as intermediaries, be treated as "publishers" and be held accountable for the content they host.

"Further, the Committee have recommended that a statutory media regulatory authority, on the lines of Press Council of India, maybe set up for the regulation of the contents on all such media platforms, irrespective of the platform where their content is published, whether online, print or otherwise," it said.

A mechanism should be devised where social media platforms, which do not act as intermediaries, will be held responsible for the content from unverified accounts on their platforms.

"Once application for verification is submitted with necessary documents, the social media intermediaries must mandatorily verify the account," said the report.

Next Story
Share it