Google said that the Indian IT laws are not applicable to it since it is a search engine and an aggregator, and not a social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Google made the statement in response to a Delhi high court order which asked it to remove “offensive content”.
The order came after a woman moved to the court alleging that photos of her were taken from her social media account without her consent and posted in pornography websites.
The case was heard by a single-judge bench who on April 20 directed Google, the host of the offending images in question, to remove the same within 24 hours.
Single-Judge Bench Issues Orders
Further orders demanded that Google and other search engines “globally de-index and de-reference” the objectionable content from search results.
The search engine was also directed to make use of automated tools in order to immediately pick up on offensive content and to disable access to it globally.
Google challenged this by syaing that it agrees with the court when it comes to the removal of universally denounced and illegal activites such as child pornography.
However, takedown orders for all grievances in the Indian context are excessive since what may be objectionable here may not be so in other countries.
Google, through senior advocate Harish Salve, responded by saying that the judge had misinterpreted the nature of the company which is a search engine and not a ‘significant social media intermediary’ as provided under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
As a search engine, its scope of control did not go beyond listing results according to the search entered which was hosted by other independent third-party websites.
Another bench of the Delhi high court comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh have stayed any interim order.
They also called for the central government, the Delhi government, the Internet Service Providers Association of India, Facebook, the pornographic site and the woman to file their responses to Google by July 25.