Filter content or face blackout, court warns Facebook, Google

New Delhi: Like in China, Facebook and
Google India’s websites can be blocked if they fail to come up with a
mechanism to check and remove derogatory contents from their web pages,
the Delhi High Court warned Thursday.


“Like China, we will block
all such websites,” Justice Suresh Kait said, after Facebook and Google
India said that it was impossible to control the derogatory contents
uploaded on their websites.


Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra,
appearing for Facebook India, said: “It is impossible to control the
contents with billions of people accessing the site. A third party who
uploads the content is not touched and we are sought to be liable in the
case.”


“Facebook India is not the controller of Facebook.com, it is Facebook.com which removes the content not me,” he added.

Mukul
Rohtagi, counsel for Google India, said: “Google India is an Indian
company and service provider is Google Inc., which is an American
company. A person can make complaints to the service provider to remove
derogatory contents not me.”


Google in its petition said that it
had been appointed as a distributor of Google Inc’s Adwords programme in
India on a principal-to-principal basis.


“Google has not been
appointed as an agent, partner or franchise of Google Inc. In its
capacity as a distributor, the petitioner engages in business
development and promotional activities for certain limited products that
include Google search, Youtube and Orkut,” Rohtagi added.


He
admitted that some articles were obscene but said the company could not
control that. He said: “People like crazy, obscene and defamatory
articles, we cannot control people’s mind.”


Neeraj Kishan Kaul for Google India said that the company was not liable as someone else posted the derogatory contents.


The High Court Wednesday issued notices to the Delhi Police and Vinay
Rai who had filed the petition in the trial court against the websites
alleging they were hosting obscene and derogatory content.


The move came as Facebook and Google approached the high court challenging a trial court’s order.

The
trial court had observed that the material submitted by the complainant
contained obscene pictures and derogatory articles pertaining to
various Hindu deities, Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ.


The
trial court had also directed the central government to take immediate
and appropriate steps on the objectionable content on the sites and file
its report by Jan 13. The case would be heard next Jan 16.

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