The Madras High Court has issued a notice to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and Google after it came to know during the hearing of a petition that social media companies do not provide details in case of commission of any cyber crime.
A bench of Justice S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad issued a notice to these service providers as it enlarged the scope of a petition moved by Antony Clement Rubin seeking directions to the government to make linking of Aadhaar or any one of the government-authorized identity proof mandatory for authentication while creating e-mail and other social media accounts.
Rubin has pleaded that linking of government-issued ID proof to create accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter or utility accounts like PayTM, Uber, Ola, Gmail, Yahoo and HotMail) would help in tackling rising cyber crimes and incidents of cyber defamations and cyberstalking and to protect the innocent “victimized e-citizens of India”.
During the hearing of the petition, counter-affidavit filed by Additional Commissioner of Police, Central Crime Branch, Greater Chennai, said the Chennai City Cyber Crime Cell is facing difficulties in obtaining details from social media companies which are located outside the country.
The affidavit also stated that “there are complaints being received upon on the cyber crimes such as data theft, defamation, cyberstalking, identity theft, transmission of obscene material in electronic form, cheating by impersonation through computer resource etc. Any complaints received against any activity involved in Facebook, Gmail or Twitter or other such social activity sites, this respondent is dependent on the information that is provided from the said company. Further only after receiving the details from the said company it is possible for this respondent to take next step, i.e., to analyze the IP logs, to send a request to ISP for getting user details etc”.
It also stated that service providers were not providing details towards investigation and detection of crimes to the Cyber Crime Cell.
Reading various provisions of the IT Act, the bench said the service providers should supply information needed for investigation in any crime.
“On the facts and circumstances of this case, and in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, we are of the prima facie view that the Information Technology Act, 2000 Act and rules made thereunder, have to be implemented, in letter and spirit, and therefore, decide to enlarge the scope of the writ petition. Social media like, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Google from whom information is sought for investigation, Cyber Crime, Commissioner of Police, are required to be heard, as to why they should not be made as party respondents, to these writ petitions,” said the court while issuing the notice.