As the government prepares to include online gaming, central agencies are looking to strengthen the IT Act

The central intelligence and investigating agencies have emphasized to the government that they should get free flow of information from social media apps and websites like Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook (Meta) as part of the investigation in order to broaden the scope of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics) 2021.

A few weeks ago, the central agencies met in the office of the home ministry to consider expanding the application of the IT Act to include online gaming.

The intelligence and investigative agencies did not have a good experience with the social networking networks, according to sources involved in the process who spoke to News18. They gave ideas for how to ensure a seamless flow of the information needed from them.

The authorities cited examples from a number of tech businesses during the discussion where they refused to provide the information due to internal procedures. Moreover, because of their servers' many locations, including those outside of India, investigative organizations like the NIA and ED are unable to take any action in the event that Indian law has been broken.

This time, the authorities have advised making sure the online gaming intermediary's (OGI) servers are located in India and that the IT Act has a clause that allows it to supersede any norms or restrictions established by an intermediary.

Also, the authorities have advised that information from the servers be provided via a single point of contact, who must immediately comply with their requests or directives.

The investigating authorities recommended that there be a mechanism of action in the event of requisition non-compliance.

Several social media and messaging applications, according to sources, refuse to provide the agency information about the users.

Agencies have also said that since their office or servers are unavailable in India, it becomes difficult for them to follow up on requests with the appropriate individual.

The authorities engaged in financial and anti-terror investigation have urged that the IT legislation allow them the authority to take action against these corporations in case of any failures to obey the directions in order to prevent such problems. Also, they recommended that in situations involving investments by foreign organizations, online gambling intermediaries provide transactional information with law authorities whenever necessary.

A small number of online gaming sites have been discovered to have engaged in fraud with Chinese citizens as participants. A few online gambling sites were discovered to be operated by Chinese businesses via fictitious Indian directors last year, with transactions totaling nearly Rs 4,000 crore, according to the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Allegations that these businesses fixed the game illegally and deceived players were made against them. In several instances, the ED also discovered a Hawala angle.

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