Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Google Outcry Lack of Proper Internet Intermediary Law In India

Internet intermediaries in India have started showing their dissatisfaction towards the draconian policies and rules of Indian government pertaining to Internet and its use. E-surveillance in India and surveillance of Internet traffic in India have increased to a considerable limit that now requires judicial scrutiny. Censorship of Internet in India should be challenged as soon as possible in the larger interests of Indian Internet users.

Intermediaries liability for cyber law due diligence in India has been extended to such levels that Internet intermediaries are now finding it difficult to comply. Internet censorship in India has become a big nuisance for these Internet intermediaries. Naturally these Internet intermediaries cannot remain silent anymore.

In fact, Yahoo has filed a petition raising the questions regarding the right to privacy of a company that stores sensitive data of its customers and users and to what extent authorities can coerce it to part with the information considered necessary to either track terror perpetrators or thwart future attacks.

Now Internet intermediaries in India have been asked to pre screen contents before they are posted on their websites. India wants companies like Google and Facebook to censor users’ contents before they are posted. Naturally this is an unreasonable and impractical demand that Internet intermediaries cannot fulfill.

Google has reacted to this dictate by responding that they follow the law regarding removal of illegal contents. It has also clarified it stand that when content is legal but controversial it do not remove it because people's differing views should be respected, so long as they are legal. Further, even where content is legal but breaks Google’s own terms and conditions, it is removed once Google is notified about the same.

Internet intermediaries are now complaining that India has no clear guidelines about what constitutes offensive and hateful contents. Sources from Indian government claims that the officials had got instructions to draw up the guidelines in this regard soon. Indian government is working upon the guidelines that may take three/four months to formulate. Let us hope that Indian government would formulate suitable and sensible guidelines in this regard.