IT Act likely to be amended to provide safeguards against dangerous gaming resources and online material which militate against our Cultural Values and Ethos

IT Act likely to be amended to provide safeguards against dangerous gaming resources and online material which militate against our Cultural Values and Ethos

August 14, 2018 Industries, OPS, states 0

With a view to ensure that adequate safeguards are placed in law to protect players, especially children against dangerous gaming resources, from any undesirable effects of these games, a Bill has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha to amend the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Background:

The context is which this amendment is being proposed is that, a series of incidents took place where children were doing dangerous acts just to complete a task given in a game called Blue Whale Challenge. Soft minds of children were completely captured by the game and they were tasked to do acts such as carving figure on arm, inflicting injury on self and eventually committing a suicidal act. Not just worldwide, in India too a number of children lost their lives while attempting Blue Whale tasks. Mindful of the dangers posed by this trend, the Central Government did sensitise administration and schools. As a result, we were able to rescue a number of children from the clutches of this fatal game.

Another worrisome aspect about what is being offered over internet is that it militates against the cultural ethos of the country which we have valued and preserved for centuries. Today, children and youth are exposed to all kinds of literature, videos, etc. that are distasteful to our cultural values and tend to undermine them.

With the objective of addressing these concerns, a new bill has been introduced during this monsoon session in the Rajya Sabha which proposes amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Highlights:

Three new provisions are being proposed to be introduced:

Heading and provision reference Contravening Action Penalty
Punishment for publishing or transmitting material repugnant to cultural ethos (Section 67 BA)

 

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is repugnant to well established cultural ethos.

 

Provided that any material shall not be deemed to be against cultural ethos merely on the ground that it goes against or contradicts an established practice or custom

on first conviction,

Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 6 months and with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees and

 

second or subsequent conviction,

Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and also with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees.

 

Punishment for hosting dangerous online gaming resource. (Section 67BB)

 

Whoever hosts any online gaming resource which induces users to commit—

(a) dangerous acts which are harmful to such users or others; or

(b) acts which cause injury to themselves or others; or

(c) any illegal act;

on first conviction,

Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees

 

second or subsequent conviction,

Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years and also with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees.’

A new chapter XIIB is being inserted which deals with Special provisions for gaming resources.

Section 79B states that whoever hosts an online gaming resource or produces any storage media containing a gaming resource to be sold offline, shall ensure that—

(a) the game resource is categorised for use by appropriate age group on the basis of game contents; and

(b) there is a suitable mechanism within the game resource to warn the users against repeating the dangerous acts, if any, shown in the game in their real lives.

 SourceE-Gazette

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