Central Agencies Seek More Teeth in IT Act Expansion As Govt Plans to Add Online Gaming
The agencies suggested online gaming intermediaries share details of transactions with the law enforcement agencies in cases involving investment of foreign entities. (Photo: Shutterstock)
This time, the agencies have suggested to ensure the online gaming intermediary (OGI) has servers in India and the IT act has provision to override policies/rules framed by any intermediary. The agencies suggested provision of action in case of non-compliance of requisition
To expand the scope of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics) 2021, the central intelligence and investigating agencies have stressed to the government that they should get free flow of information from social media apps and websites such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook (Meta) as part of the investigation.
The central agencies in a meeting held at the home ministry office a few weeks ago discussed the scope of the IT Act and adding online gaming in its ambit.
Sources associated with the process told News18 that the intelligence and investigation agencies did not have pleasant experiences with the social media websites, and made suggestions for smooth flow of information required from them.
During the meeting, the officials quoted instances of several tech companies who refused to divulge the information quoting their internal policies. Also, due to their servers located in different areas and outside of India, investigating agencies including ED, NIA remain helpless in taking action in case of any violation of Indian laws.
This time, the agencies have suggested to ensure the online gaming intermediary (OGI) has servers in India and the IT act has the provision to override policies/rules framed by any intermediary.
Also, the agencies have suggested to provide information from the servers through single point contact which has to comply with the orders or requisition from them without any delay.
The investigating agencies suggested that there must be a provision of action in case of non-compliance of requisition.
Sources, quoting few social media and messaging apps, said most of them refuse to provide details about the persons to the agencies.
Agencies have also said it gets tough for them to follow up on requisition with the right person due to non-availability of their office or servers in India.
To avoid such issues, the agencies involved in financial as well as anti-terror investigation have demanded that the IT act must give powers to them to take action against these companies in case of any lapses in following the orders. They also suggested cases which involve investment of foreign entities, online gaming intermediaries must share details of transactions with the law enforcement agencies whenever required.
Few online gaming sites have been found committing frauds, which had the involvement of Chinese nationals. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had last year found that few online gaming sites were being run by China-based entities through dummy Indian directors, involving transactions worth about Rs 4,000 crore. These companies faced allegations of duping people by fraudulently fixing the game. The ED also found Hawala angle in these cases.
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