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Google Faces More Legal Issues In India; Pushes For Immunity For Platforms

Update: Download the Bombay High Courts Order here. (via)

Google India is pushing for the Indian government provide immunity to “platforms”: the company is facing cases related to copyright violation, illegal advertisements, hate campaigns and defamation. Two more issues, reported today – the first, in the Economic Times, has details about Google India being taken to court by Gremach Infrastructure Equipments & Projects because of blog posts defaming the company, seeking information on the blogger. The other, in the AFP, concerns the Supreme Court of India asking Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to respond to charges that they allow targeted gender selection advertisements; gender selection is illegal in India. Google India MD Shailesh Rao had said last year that he spends about 40 percent of his time everyday speaking to government officials, parents and children, and here’s a list of some of the issues that Google and its services have faced over the past couple of years:

Servers, Platforms and Immunity

At the regulatory discussion on mobile value added services last month, a representative from Google asked for immunity and a “safe harbor” for “neutral technology platforms”. Responding to the regulators suggestion that servers be placed in India, Google responded that the regulators stand “does not fully appreciate the reality of the global network architecture, and global organization structure.” Google wants to maintain centralized servers; keeping servers within India might bring user data accessible to Indian authorities, since they would come under Indian jurisdiction.

The discussion was around mobile service providers in India, but Googles stand is applicable to both the web and mobile. From their comments filed (pdf) with the regulator –

“VASPs instead play the important and sensible role of a neutral technology platform, with an obligation to follow lawful procedure when made aware of illegal activity. Such a “safe harbour” – in line with international best practices, could articulate that operators and VASPs should be presumed immune from liability for unlawful activity taking place via their services, unless it is demonstrated that they actively conspired, abetted or had knowledge of the act – that they be presumed innocent unless proven guilty.”

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