From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NA
Mains level : Digital India Act, 2003
The Union government has formally outlined the Digital India Act, 2023 which is a broad overhaul of the decades-old Information Technology Act, 2000.
Central idea: Reconsideration of Safe Harbour
- The government is reconsidering a key aspect of cyberspace — ‘safe harbour’.
- Safe harbour is the principle that so-called ‘intermediaries’ on the internet are not responsible for what third parties post on their website.
- This is the principle that allows social media platforms to avoid liability for posts made by users.
- Safe harbour has been reined in in recent years by regulations like the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which require platforms to take down posts when ordered to do so by the government, or when required by law.
What is the Digital India Act, 2023?
- The act is a new legislation that aims to overhaul the decades-old Information Technology Act, 2000.
- The Act covers a range of topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybercrime, data protection, deepfakes, competition issues among internet platforms, and online safety.
- The Act also aims to address “new complex forms of user harms” that have emerged in the years since the IT Act’s enactment, such as catfishing, doxxing, trolling, and phishing.
Why was this act enacted?
- Data privacy: The Digital India Act will be implemented alongside the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, which focuses solely on processing personal data in India.
- Lawful use of data: It seeks to address the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognizes both the right of the individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes.
- Comprehensive regulation: This Act and the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill will work in tandem with each other.
Key features of the Digital India Act
- Creating new regulations around newer technology, including 5G, IoT devices, cloud computing, metaverse, blockchain, and cryptocurrency.
- Reclassifying online intermediaries to separate categories instead of one general intermediary label, each one with its own set of regulations.
- Removing “safe harbour” immunity for online intermediaries for purposeful misinformation or other content violations from third parties.
- Creating digital standards and laws regarding artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology.
- Criminalizing cyberbullying, identity theft, and unauthorized sharing of personal information without consent.
- The Digital India Act provides a legal framework for promoting the growth of the digital economy in India.
- It aims to create a conducive environment for the development and deployment of digital technologies across different sectors.
- The Act also addresses various challenges associated with cybersecurity and data privacy, which are critical issues in the digital age.
- The Digital India Act is expected to promote digital literacy and increase access to digital services for all citizens.
- It will help in creating a digital infrastructure that is secure, reliable, and accessible to everyone.
- The Act will also encourage the adoption of digital technologies in various sectors such as healthcare, education, and agriculture, leading to increased efficiency and productivity
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