India to sue Google, Facebook over content

Dylan Bushell-Embling
16 Jan 2012

The Indian government has authorized the prosecution of a case against 21 internet firms, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo, over obscene online content.

The web giants could now be forced into court to face charges such as spreading religious hatred and social discord, wire service AFPreported.

A criminal case has been filed by a local journalist, seeking to have the web firms deemed responsible for material posted online.

Prosecutors want Google and company to develop mechanisms for manually checking and removing offensive material.

But the companies have appealed in the High Court, seeking to have the initial case stayed.

Google India told the higher court that it would be infeasible for humans to search for such incidents and remove them.

In other telecom legal news, the nation's Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) last week waived all the penalties for missing rollout obligations imposed by the Department of Telecom (DoT), India Todaysaid.

The DoT will also be forced to refund the penalties collected so far, with 12% interest, and conduct a fresh hearing before issuing any more fines.

The penalties, amounting to over 3 billion rupees ($58.3 million), had been levied on new mobile operators winning spectrum in recent allocations, including Aircel, Etisalat DB, Videocon, Uninor and Loop.

But the TDSAT alleges that the DoT did not give operators an opportunity to appeal before imposing the penalties, and that the department did not suffer any legally-recognized damages.

The DoT is expected to appeal the ruling, arguing that the TDSAT is exceeding its jurisdiction.

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