• The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008

    The main Indian act that addresses legal challenges specifically as they relate to the Internet is the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, or for short, the IT Act. We highlight the sections that have the greatest relevance for the Internet and democracy. 

    • Section 66A: Do not send offensive messages

      Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 prohibits the sending of offensive messages though a communication device (i.e. through an online medium). The types of information this covers are offensive messages of a menacing character, or a message that the sender knows to be false but is sent for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will.’ If you’re booked under Section 66A, you could face up to 3 years of imprisonment along with a fine.

    • Sections 67 and 67A: No nudity, please

      The large amounts of obscene’ material that circulate on the Internet have long attracted comment in India. Not surprsingly, then, in the same way as obscenity is prohobited offline in the country, so it is online as well. The most important tools to curtail it are sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act, prohibiting obscene and sexually explicit material respectively. 

    • Section 69A and the Blocking Rules: Allowing the Government to block content under certain circumstances

      Section 69A of the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, allows the Central Government to block content where it believes that this content threatens the security of the State; the sovereignty, integrity or defence of India; friendly relations with foreign States; public order; or to prevent incitement for the commission of a cognisable offence relating to any of the above. A set of procedures and safeguards to which the Government has to adhere when doing so have been laid down in what have become known as the Blocking Rules. 

    • Section 79 and the IT Rules: Privatising censorship in India

      Section 79 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 regulates the liability of a wide range of intermediaries in India. The section came in the limelight mostly because of the infamous Intermediary Guidelines Rules, or IT Rules, which were made under it. The IT Rules constitute an important and worrying move towards the privatisation of censorship in India.