In a filing before the Delhi High Court pertaining to the new Information Technology Rules 2021, which went into force late last month, Google claims that the legislation does not apply to it since it was a “search engine” and not a “social media intermediary” like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
On April 20, the High Court issued a series of orders in response to a petition filed by a woman who claimed that her photographs and images, while not obscene or offensive in and of themselves, were taken from her Facebook and Instagram accounts without her consent and posted on a pornographic website with derogatory captions.
It said that the High Court had “generally” noticed in its April 20 judgement that offending content must be prohibited globally for removal or access disablement. It said that this statement was “overbroad” and “could not apply to all takedown orders for all grievances.”
It said that the High Court had “usually” recognised in its April 20 judgement that offending content must be prohibited globally for removal or access disablement. This statement was “overbroad” and “could not apply to all takedown orders for all grievances,” it said.
The Centre, Delhi government, Internet Service Providers’ Association of India, Facebook, the pornographic site, and the woman on whose request the April 20 decision was given were all served with a notice by a bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. The bench stated that no interim orders would be issued at this time.
This search technique did not censor the results; it uncovered material that matched the search request, housed on other independent third-party websites outside of the control of search engines. As the tug of war between these myriad tech titans and the Government gains momentum, it remains to be seen how far it will impact end users, with key issues such as data privacy at stake.