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Google files appeal in HC, says new Information Technology rules do not apply to its search engine

Google has claimed that the new Information Technology rules do not apply to it as it is a search engine, not a Social Media Intermediary. 

Google in Delhi HC says new Information Technology rules do not apply to search engine-VPN
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New Delhi, First Published Jun 2, 2021, 12:14 PM IST
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Centre on a petition filed by Google against a single judge order labelling it as a social media intermediary. 

In its petition, Google has claimed that the new Information Technology rules do not apply to it as it is a search engine and not a Social Media Intermediary. 

Google said that it is not covered under the definition of Significant Social Media Intermediary in the IT Rules, 2021.

It also contended that some content that may be seen as offensive in Indian law, may not be seen so outside India. Hence, a blanket order -- as given by the single judge bench -- to remove the content globally cannot be issued.

The high court single judge order of April 20 was passed in a case where the petitioner alleged that photographs posted on her private social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram were taken without her consent and were unlawfully posted on a pornographic website despite her privacy settings being activated.

Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Google, said that the single judge judgment will set a very bad precedent. 

Claiming that the single judge had misinterpreted and misapplied the New Rules 2021 to his client's search engine, Salve said that the judge had conflated various sections of the IT Act and separate rules prescribed thereunder, and has passed template orders combining all such offences and provisions, which is bad in law.

The court thereafter sent notices to the Centre, Delhi government, Facebook, the pornographic site and the petitioner woman and the Internet Service Providers Association of India, and sought their responses by July 25.

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