Monday, February 20, 2012

Cyber Due Diligence For Foreign Websites In India

Foreign websites and companies are facing growing court cases and litigations for violation of Indian laws. This trend was already predicted by techno legal experts of India. According to techno legal experts in India, legal action against offending foreign websites can be taken in India if they fail to exercise cyber due diligence. Further, as a measure of last resort, these foreign websites can be blocked in India for not complying with Indian laws.

Experts have also suggested appointment of nodal officers so that these foreign websites and companies can comply with Indian laws. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 of India prescribe stringent provisions regarding Internet intermediary liability in India. However, till now foreign companies and websites have not followed the guidelines and rules issued by Indian government in this regard.

This is the main reason for growing incidences of litigations and cases against foreign websites in India. A criminal complaint has been filed against companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc before a Trail Court for non observation of cyber due diligence by them. Even the Delhi High Court has not quashed the criminal complaint against these companies so far.

Fortunately, the Delhi High Court has granted an exemption from personal appearance of the executives of Google and Facebook. However, executives of other 19 co-accused companies are still required to personally appear before the trial court.

Now a new petition has been filed with the AP High Court seeking directions to the Central Government that it may ask social networking site Facebook to publish its security architecture and safeguard mechanisms to protect its user profiles. It has also been pleaded that Facebook makes its users authenticate accounts with official identification documents.

Although the present petition against Facebook seems to be premature and unnecessary yet the criminal and civil cases against social networking websites and foreign companies is worth trying. This situation also is a wake up call for these websites and companies to fall in line with Indian laws.