Internet intermediary liability in India has been well established by the Information Technology Act, 2000 of India and corresponding rules framed under it. However, till now both Indian and foreign technology firms and social media websites are not complying with the same. Companies like Google, Facebook, etc are continuously violating Indian laws and Indian government is not taking strict actions against the offending companies.
Companies like Google take cover behind the conflict of laws in cyberspace. These companies insist upon following of a procedure that is not recognised by Indian laws but by the laws of United States. Thus, even if these companies have violated numerous laws of India, the Indian government cannot prosecute them as there are no laws that can effectively nail them.
Indian government needs to formulate a techno legal framework for foreign companies that have a place of business in India and that target Indian residents for commercial reasons. If these companies fail to comply with Indian laws and Indian legal requests as per Indian laws, they should not be allowed to operate in India or derive any monetary benefit form Indian territories.
These companies are openly violating the civil liberties of Indian netizens and Indian government is looking helplessly. They are facilitating e-surveillance of Indian residents as and when demanded by the intelligence and security agencies of United States. In particular, Indian government is taking the violation of Indian laws by Google very lightly.
Much litigation against these foreign companies are presently undergoing in various Courts of India. The Delhi High Court is seized with one such litigation where Facebook is involved. The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to issue a notification on the electronic signature required by an individual to send a complaint to Facebook via e-mail.
The Court has observed that the provision with regard to electronic signature under Information Technology Act, 2000 is still unutilised as it is till waiting for Centre’s notification in this regard. The court also directed the Centre to finalise, within a month, its e-mail policy for official communication by government officers in consonance with the Public Records Act in order to bar transfer of data to a server outside the country. Ideally speaking, India must ban Gmail and Yahoo e-mails for official communications absolutely and urgently. The court has now fixed the matter for hearing December 12.