Internet intermediary liability in India is now well established and well known among various Internet intermediaries. The indication by Indian legislators is very clear that cyber litigations against foreign websites would increase in India. In fact, many foreign companies operating their websites in India have already faced civil and criminal prosecutions in India from time to time.
The primary reason for the prosecution of both Indian and foreign companies in India is the failure to observe cyber law due diligence in India by these companies. Cyber law due diligence in India has become very stringent. This applies to various fields and to multiple stakeholders. For instance, cyber due diligence for banks in India is now a well known requirement for banks in India. However, Internet intermediaries are the most widely covered stakeholders in this regard. Intermediaries liability for cyber law due diligence in India is really tough.
In absence of a clear cut Internet intermediary law in India, Indian government is indulging in Internet censorship in India. Stringent directions are frequently issued to Internet intermediaries under the rules of information technology act 2000. This occasionally results in censorship of Internet in India. Further, Indian government is now openly acknowledging surveillance of Internet traffic in India.
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.
Recently 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.
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.
The Google’s outcry for lack of Internet intermediary law in India is another example of growing dissatisfaction towards Indian cyber laws, especially Internet intermediary laws of India. Time has come for Indian government to address the issues of enacting sound and effective Internet intermediary laws in India and cyber due diligence requirements for internet intermediaries in India.
Update: Now it has been reported that a Clarification on the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011 under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 has been issued by the Department Of Electronics And Information Technology. At Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we believe that these clarifications would not serve much purpose rather they would make the matter even more complicated.
Source: ICTPS Blog.