Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the bid to gather information from intermediaries regarding the names of the originators of any message/content/information shared on the platforms run by these intermediaries, the Court has asked the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology to file an affidavit within three weeks placing on record the stage at which the process of framing/notifying the rules is at. The Court also asked the Secretary to give definite timelines in respect of completing the process of notifying the rules.

The bench of Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha passed the order in the light of the fact that there are various messages and content spread/shared on the social media, some of which are harmful.

“Some messages can incite violence. There may be messages which are against the sovereignty and integrity of the country. Social media has today become the source of large amount of pornography. Paedophiles use social media in a big way. Drugs, weapons and other contrabands can be sold through the use of platforms run by the intermediaries.”

The bench, hence, noticed that in such circumstances, it is imperative that there is a properly framed regime to find out the persons/institutions/bodies who are the originators of such content/messages. It may be necessary to get such information from the intermediaries.

Some intermediaries, however, submitted that they cannot provide information either with regard to the content or with regard to the originators because they have end to end encryption and therefore, even the intermediaries are not in a position to find out who is the originator or what is the content.

On the said issue, the Court noticed that

“de-encryption, if available easily, could defeat the fundamental right of privacy and de-encryption of messages may be done under special circumstances but it must be ensured that the privacy of an individual is not invaded. However, at the same time, the sovereignty of the State and the dignity and reputation of an individual are required to be protected.”

It, hence, said that for purposes of detection, prevention and investigation of certain criminal activities it may be necessary to obtain such information. De-encryption and revelation of the identity of the originator may also be necessary in certain other cases, some of which have been highlighted hereinabove.

After Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told that the Court that  the matter is under active consideration of the Union of India and that the draft rules in this regard have already been framed and are only required to be notified, the Court asked Solicitor General to take complete instructions in the matter.

[Facebook Inc. v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1264, order dated 24.09.2019]

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the between India and Angola for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of Electronics and Information Technology.

The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation in the areas of e-Governance, HRD for IT education, Information Security, Electronics Hardware manufacturing, IT embedded Software industry, Telemedicine etc.

Background:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been mandated to promote international cooperation in the emerging and frontier areas of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) under bilateral and regional framework of cooperation. MeitY has entered into MoUs/Agreements with counterpart organizations/ agencies of various countries to promote close cooperation and exchange of information in the area of ICT. To further enhance cooperation with various countries, particularly in view of the new initiatives taken by Government of India like “Digital India”, “Make in India” etc., there is an increased need for exploring business opportunities in the technology sector which are of interest.

MeitY negotiated a comprehensive MoU for a focussed cooperation in ICT areas such as in e-Governance, HRD for IT education, Information Security, Electronics Hardware manufacturing, IT embedded Software industry, Telemedicine etc. After negotiations the draft MoU was finalised and signed during the visit of Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. M.J. Akbar on behalf of MeitY, Government of India and Mr. Domingos Custodio Vieira Lopes, Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Angolan Communities, on behalf of Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Government of Angola.

Cabinet

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The government of India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Lanka for promoting cooperation in the field of Information Technology and Electronics. The MoU intends to promote closer co-operation in the areas of e-Governance, m-Governance, E-public services delivery, cyber security, software technology parks, start-ups ecosystem etc. The MoU shall be implemented by establishing a Working Group on IT&E composed of representatives of the two parties. Bilateral Cooperation in ICT domain both B2B and G2G will be enhanced.

Background :

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been mandated to promote international cooperation in the emerging and frontier areas of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) under bilateral and regional framework of cooperation. To further enhance cooperation with various countries, particularly in view of the new initiatives taken by Government of India like “Digital India”, “Make in India” etc., there is an increased need for exploring business opportunities in the technology sector which are of interest. To extend the cooperation to IT sector, the Indian Mission in Colombo and MEA had emphasized on evolving a framework for active cooperation. In this regard, the MeitY negotiated a comprehensive MoU for a focused cooperation in ICT areas such as in e-Governance, cyber security, B2B partnership, IT education and research/innovation, etc.

[Press Release no. 1524415]

Ministry of Electronics & IT

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Stating that Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft (I) Pvt. Ltd., in the name of intermediaries, cannot put anything that violates the laws of this country, the bench of Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, JJ directed that a memorandum shall be filed before this Court indicating the steps to be taken so that nothing goes through the search engines that violates any legislation.

Ranjit Kumar, learned Solicitor General of India had submitted that the Union of India would convene a meeting with the technical experts of the respondents along with the experts of the Department within ten days. The Court hence, directed the respondents to attend the meeting on the date and time fixed by the competent authority of the Union of India and listed the matter on 25.07.2016. [Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 681, decided on 05.07.2016]