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Govt withdraws letter to Apple seeking compliance with new IT rules

The Centre has withdrawn a letter written to Apple regarding compliance with the new IT rules, specifically about the company’s messaging service.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) withdrew the letter after reaching an understanding that Apple’s iMessage would not be considered a “social media intermediary”, The Indian Express reported.

The government was of the view that iMessage was not “primarily or solely” an instant messaging service provider and is not a standalone app, sources told the publication.

“Unlike other messaging apps like, say, WhatsApp, can anyone download iMessage on their phone and use it? If that logic is to be applied, even food delivery platforms, and especially gaming platforms provide an option of chatting with other gamers. Should they also be considered a social media intermediary then? The answer is no,” a government official told the publication.

Neither Apple nor the IT Ministry had responded when contacted by the publication.

The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, 2021 came into effect on May 26 after companies had been given three months to comply with the rules.

Companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are required to comply with the IT rules. Failure to comply with the norms means that the companies lose safe harbour protection, making them liable for content posted by users on their platforms. Moneycontrol News

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