Digital India Bill to Introduce Stringent Measures for Regulating Emerging Technologies


Regulating new and emerging technologies has always presented a significant challenge. Typically, a new tech innovation bursts onto the scene, and governments scramble to catch up with the rapidly evolving landscape. However, to break this cycle, the upcoming Digital India Bill proposes a proactive approach. It may include provisions allowing the government to prohibit specific emerging technologies through notifications if they are deemed potentially harmful to users, discriminatory, or a threat to national security.

Stringent Consequences for Prohibited Technologies:

The consequences for developing or deploying prohibited emerging technologies could be severe. Developers and deployers who proceed despite government restrictions may face penalties. This represents a significant shift towards preventive measures in the technology regulatory landscape.

Focus on Generative AI and Privacy Concerns:

This development comes amidst growing buzz around technologies like Generative AI. While such technologies offer substantial benefits, concerns about privacy and cybersecurity have also emerged. Notably, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently initiated an investigation into OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, highlighting the global attention on these issues.

Comprehensive Oversight and Replacing the Information Technology Act:

The Digital India Bill is set to replace the two-decades-old Information Technology Act and introduce comprehensive oversight mechanisms for the digital landscape. The shift towards more proactive regulation reflects the growing importance of technology in contemporary society and the need for responsive governance.

Additional Provisions and Compliance Requirements:

In addition to penalties for developers and publishers, the government may introduce blocking provisions to restrict public access to prohibited technologies. Emerging technologies will likely be required to comply with the Digital India Bill continuously. Failure to do so may result in government directives for temporary discontinuation, although developers can request reconsideration after making necessary modifications.

The Future of the Digital India Bill:

The Digital India Bill, in development for over a year, is poised to be released for consultation before proceeding to Parliament for consideration. Pre-consultation meetings in major cities have already taken place, emphasizing the government's commitment to addressing key issues related to technology regulation. Among the discussed topics is the potential removal of the safe harbour provision for internet intermediaries, a significant change that aims to enhance accountability and responsibility in the digital sphere.



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