U.S. tech giant Google Inc said on Wednesday that India’s information technology rules for digital media do not apply to its search engine and called on Delhi High Court to overturn an previous order, issued by a single-judge court, which applied to the company in relation to certain offending content published on a pornographic website. Google said the judge had “misrepresented” its search engine as a “social media intermediary” or “major social media intermediary” as the new rules provide.
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What is it about ?
The case in question concerns a case in which photographs of a woman were uploaded to the pornography website without her consent by a few “unknown people”. Despite court orders ordering the removal of the content, the photograph could not be completely removed in its entirety from the internet. Additionally, some “wandering parties happily continued” to repost and redirect content to other sites, the court noted.
What did the court say?
In light of these observations, the Delhi High Court Single Judge Panel on April 20 developed a template in which it indicated that a proper instruction could be given to the website where the objectionable material is hosted to remove the same. immediately and at most within 24 hours of receipt of the court order.
The court also said that additional instructions should be sent to the search engine to disable access to the offending content by “de-indexing” and “dereferencing” it in their listed search results. Viewing Google’s search engine as an intermediary, the court said it should “strive to employ proactive surveillance, using automated tools, to identify and remove or disable access to any content that is exactly identical to the offending content which is the subject matter of the court order. “
The search engine must also block worldwide search results for the content, according to the ordinance, because an instruction to remove or disable access to offending content will not be effective, even in India, if it has no realistic prospect of preventing irreparable harm to a litigant.
If the intermediary does not meet these conditions, he risks losing his exemption privilege under the law on information technology (IT), the court noted.
Google’s objection to the court order
Google noted that although it was an intermediary, the Delhi High Court judge had “misrepresented” his search engine as a “social media intermediary” or “major social media intermediary” as provided for in the new rules.
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“In addition, the Single Judge has amalgamated various sections of the Computing Act and the separate rules prescribed under it, and adopted model orders combining all these offenses and provisions, which is contrary to the law, “Google said in its appeal against the April 20 judgment.
In view of this, Google argued that the new IT rules framed by these guidelines are not applicable to its search engine and requested removal of the judge’s observation that he was a “social media intermediary”. With the aforementioned plea, Google further requested protection against any enforcement action for failure to comply with the model or guidelines established by the Single Judge.
Where is the business now?
Following Google’s plea, a Delhi high court bench consisting of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said no interim order would be made at this point.
The court sent a notice to the central government, the government of Delhi, the Internet Service Providers Association of India, Facebook, the porn site and the woman, on whose plea the Single Judge had been made, to submit their responses to Google’s plea in July 25.
(With contributions from agencies)