The entire issue revolves around Internet intermediaries’ liability in India. Companies like Google, Facebook, etc are Internet intermediaries as per the provisions of Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000). The IT Act 2000 is the cyber law of India that covers dealings of these companies in cyberspace. If these companies fails to ensure cyber law due diligence in India, they are liable to be prosecuted in India.
Cyber due diligence for companies in India has been ignored for long. However, companies and individuals are now facing legal challenges for ignoring the same. There are certain simple procedures that can be adopted to ensure compliance with Indian laws.
For instance, foreign companies and websites must appoint nodal officers to comply with Indian laws. Similarly, these companies and websites must also formulate an India specific legal strategy to tackle cyber law and intellectual property violation issues more properly.
Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) believe that these companies must ensure compliance with Indian laws in true letter and spirit. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 of India must be specially taken care of by all Internet intermediaries of India.
Companies like Twitter and Google have already taken initiatives to comply with Indian laws. Twitter has put in place a country specific mechanism to remove offending tweets. Google has also started redirecting Indian bloggers to ***.blogspot.in domains instead of ***.blogspot.com domain. This method would allow Google to remove offending contents pertaining to ***.blogspot.in alone once a valid legal request is made from Indian government or individuals residing in India.
Presently, civil and criminal cases are pending against companies like Google, Facebook, etc before various courts in New Delhi. Before the Delhi High Court, the respondent/complainant of the criminal complaint has placed it final arguments on 02-02-2012 and the petitioner companies would put its final arguments on 14-02-2012.
The civil court of New Delhi would analyse the compliance report of Google, Facebook, etc on 01-03-2012. The 22 firms involved in the case have to submit in writing that they have deleted the content before the next hearing. The criminal trial’s hearing is scheduled on 13th March 2012 where representatives of foreign companies have to be personally present. It seems foreign companies would have a busy month ahead.