Rajeev Chandrasekhar said AI will be regulated through the prism of user harm

AI will be regulated through the prism of user harm: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Mumbai — Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar here on Tuesday said Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India will be regulated through the prism of user harm and that the government won’t ban anything in the innovation space unless it is linked with user harm.

Chandrasekhar held Digital India Dialogues on the Principles of the Digital India Act, a future-ready legislation that aims to replace the existing IT Act and provide a strong legal framework for protecting the rights of digital citizens while ensuring an enabling environment for innovation and growth.

Referring to DIA basic principles, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the Act seeks to harmonise everything that’s going on in the tech space. Talking about Safety and Trust, he mentioned “Safety and Trust will be at the heart of the DIA, and it is going to be a huge section in the DIA. Online harm is also being dealt with by regulators globally. India is soon going to have 1.3 billion people accessing the internet and these Digital Nagriks (citizens) should approach the internet without any fear and mistrust, especially as many government services also move to the internet. A safe and trusted internet is a win-win for all stakeholders. Weaponisation of misinformation and disinformation is also a major concern that needs to be addressed, especially with the added catalyst of AI-driven deep fakes”

Chandrasekhar responding to questions on the issue of intersecting regulation by sectoral regulators said DIA will allow sectoral regulators such as RBI and SEBI and other ministries to create additional safeguards. The DIA will result in the harmonization of different laws and sectoral regulators will be consulted for this purpose.

The minister talking about the compliance for startups said that in all recent laws, such as the CERT-In directions released in April 2022 or the upcoming Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, startups have either been provided exemptions or an extended time period for compliance.

The proposed law is said to be an important pillar of the Global Standard Cyber law framework that is being formulated by the government for catalyzing India’s digital economy goals. Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, National Data Governance Framework policy, the recent amendments to the IT Rules, CERT-In guidelines will form the other elements of this framework.

The session was attended by a diverse range of stakeholders of the technology ecosystem including industry associations, startups, IT professionals, think tanks and lawyers. Around 300 stakeholders attended the consultation, with 125 people attending in person and 175 attending virtually. A similar dialogue was held in Bengaluru in March this year.

These consultations are in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s consultative approach to law and policy-making. This is the first time the consultations are taking place on the principles of the Bill.

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