Indians Under 18 + google/ fb account = criminals? Yahoo!

NEW DELHI: Facebook and Google have been asked to explain how minors in India can open accounts with them when it’s against indian law to do so. BJP idealogue K N Govindacharya has pleaded for the shutting down of facebook and email accounts of anyone under eighteen. The Delhi High Court points out that technically, the man’s got a point, and a sharp one at that. 

How do minors in India access social networking sites and are allowed opening an account even though Indian laws don’t permit it? The Delhi high court on Thursday posed this query at the central government and gave it 10 days to file an affidavit.

The HC also questioned two US-based entities — Facebook Inc and Google Inc — asking them also to respond. It was hearing a plea by former BJP ideologue K N Govindacharya seeking among others, strict guidelines to curb exposure of minors to online sexual predators.

It also seeks an order for recovery of taxes from the websites on their income from operations in India.

A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru asked Sumeet Pushkarna, the counsel for the Centre, to make the government’s stand clear on the issue through an affidavit within 10 days and posted the matter for May 13.

“How can children below 18 years have an agreement with any of the social network sites, including Facebook? The Union of India is directed to file an affidavit on the issue within 10 days,” the bench said. It added that “Both Facebook Inc and Google Inc are US-based entities and are hereby impleaded as respondents. Notices should be issued to the newly added parties.”

The bench passed the order after hearing the argument of Govindacharya’s counsel Veerag Gupta that minors are getting into an agreement with the social networking sites to open an account which is against the Indian Majority Act, the Indian Contract Act and also the Information and Technology Act.

Due to non-verification of users, more than eight crore Facebook users across the world were found to be “fake”, which the website admitted before the US authority, Gupta told the HC blaming the Centre for failing to take any action against the foreign companies which have extensive Indian operations.

Govindacharya, at present a patron of Rashtriya Swabhimaan Aandolan, filed public interest litigation (PIL), seeking directions to Centre and the two software giants to “ensure proper accounting compliances as per RBI guidelines”.

“Facebook gross revenue for previous year was $37 billion approximately but they are not paying due taxes to Indian government,” the petition argued seeking a direction to ensure safety of the data of 50 million Indian users, which was transferred “to the USA and is being used for commercial gains in violation of the right to privacy”.

The PIL urges the HC to “Issue a writ of Mandamus …to ensure verification of all existing users and future new members of social networking websites with instructions not to do agreements with children below 18 years.”

Arguing that lack of monitoring makes minors vulnerable the PIL further seeks creation of a national register of persons indulging in sexual offences and heinous crimes and stopping such persons from joining social networking websites.

The petition, which listed the alleged violations of various terms by the websites, also sought a direction to the Centre to ensure that government officers “do not use social networking websites through government computers” as they may pose threat to sensitive data and national computer network.

“As per telecommunication minister’s statement in Parliament, the government lost $4 billion every year due to cyber crimes and approximately 90 million government websites were hacked in last three years,” it pointed out.

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Posted by on April 26, 2013. Filed under WORLD NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to Indians Under 18 + google/ fb account = criminals? Yahoo!

  1. X GOAT

    April 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Now children will just lie about their age , or use pseudo names i guess .

  2. k-smartie

    April 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

    this is a parenting issue and not a PIL issue.
    laws should be changed.
    Govindacharya as usual barking up the wrong tree.

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