Delhi High Court is presently seized with many crucial issues pertaining to foreign technology companies and their business operations in India. One such issue involves use of private e-mail services of foreign companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc by Indian officials. Although the Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to formulate and implement the e-mail policy of India long back yet till now nothing has been done in this regard.
Private e-mail service providers are required to comply with Indian laws if they have Indian presence or they are deriving commercial benefits out of India or Indian citizens or Indian connections. They are also required to comply with Indian laws, especially the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000). The Google’s online defamation case is pending before the Supreme Court of India and this is a good opportunity for it to streamline the interpretation of Indian laws to foreign technology companies.
Private e-mail service providers like G-mail, Yahoo, etc not only indulge in behavioural analysis to provide interest specific advertisements but they also violate the laws of India while doing so. For instance, G-Mail services are so designed that they abet and encourage the commission of cyber crimes and cyber contraventions within the meaning of IT Act 2000. Further, Google, Facebook, etc are continuously violating the laws of India and Indian government is not doing anything in this regard. India needs to formulate a techno legal framework to manage these issues effectively.
The Delhi High Court has expressed its displeasure over the indifference and lethargy of Indian government to ensure a timely e-mail policy of India. Warning of coercive action, the Delhi high court on Wednesday pulled up the Centre for delay in coming out with an official policy to secure emails used by government officials. The Court was unhappy that despite directions, the government has been lax in coming out with a notification on a national e-mail policy for official communication.
On Thursday the Centre had assured the Court that it is on the verge of finalising the e-mail policy for government employees, and has sought opinion from various ministries on it. The court has now granted it four weeks’ time.