About a fortnight after issuing an advisory, asking all Internet intermediaries and other platforms to obtain approval before launching AI products, the government has now done away with the requirement.

The advisory by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had come close on the heels of a row triggered by the response of Google’s AI platform to queries related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the March 1 advisory, MeitY had asked tech companies to seek its approval before launching what it termed “unreliable” or “under-tested” generative AI models or tools. The ministry feared that they could “threaten the integrity of the electoral process”.

But the advisory had faced criticism from various quarters, after which Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar clarified that it was meant for large platforms and did not apply to startups.

And on March 15, the advisory was withdrawn. In the fresh note that succeeded the earlier one, MeitY directed the platforms to make sure that AI generated content is appropriately “labelled”, especially the content that is susceptible to misuse.

The new advisory retains some older provisions such as the consent popup mechanism, that should be used by platforms to inform the users about the possible biases or unreliable output that could exist in a platform. The Ministry has also asked platforms to ensure that the biases arising out of their AI models or platforms do not hamper the electoral process in India, similar to the earlier version. 

“Every intermediary and platform should ensure that its computer resource in itself or through the use of artificial intelligence, large language models (LLMs), generative Al, software or algorithms does not permit any bias or discrimination or threaten the integrity of the electoral process,” read the advisory document.

Further MeitY has asked every intermediary and platform to inform its users through the terms of service and user agreements about the consequences of dealing with unlawful information — including disabling of access to or removal of such information; suspension or termination of access; or usage rights of the user to their user account, and punishment under the applicable law. 

First Published: Mar 16 2024 | 2:34 PM IST

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