Technology companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc are trying to balance their commercial interests and compliance with regulatory requirements of different jurisdictions. However, conflict of laws in cyberspace is not easy to manage and in many cases these companies have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. They have been prosecuted in both United States and India for one reason or other. However, these companies are avoiding compliance with Indian laws and Indian government has realised that these companies need to be regulated appropriately in India.
The cyber litigation against foreign companies in India is going to increase tremendously in India. This is more so as these companies are not complying with cyber law due diligence requirements (PDF) as applicable in India. Google’s Online Defamation Case is a crucial case that can seal the fate of these companies in India. Further, foreign companies and e-commerce portals would now be required to register in India and comply with Indian laws.
India may also scrap the compulsory transfer pricing audit based on monetary threshold limits to avoid tax evasion by various foreign companies. The liability of director under the Indian Companies Act 2013 has also increased significantly and this includes cyber law, cyber security, data security, data protection (PDF) and privacy protection obligations as well.
The Delhi High Court is currently is analysing e-mail policy of India and complaint mechanism to Facebook. Similarly, the Supreme Court if India is also seized with a matter pertaining to interpretation of the Public Records Act 1993 vis-à-vis foreign e-mail service providers like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. When the e-mail users provide their sensitive and personal details to these e-mail service providers, they are stored and processed in a foreign jurisdiction. This violates the provisions of the Public Records Act 1993.
It has been reported that Gmail and Yahoo have made telephone number mandatory for creation of new email addresses in a bid to check spam and abuses. Google has also limited number of accounts that a person using one telephone number can create but the website did not specify the maximum number of email account it will allow. While for Gmail a person can give either telephone or mobile number, for a new Yahoo it is now mandatory to have a mobile number.
However, this step of Gmail and Yahoo may violate the provisions of various Indian laws. This is more so when the Indian government and Delhi High Court are in the process of formulating an e-mail policy of India.