An Indian court is moving ahead with a criminal trial accusing Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and other companies of violating Indian law by failing to censor objectionable web content.
A trial court judge has issued summons to executives from the companies asking them to appear in court on September 22. The summons will be sent to US diplomats, who will be obliged to pass it on to the companies under the terms of an international treaty for legal assistance, which both India and the US are signatories to, Dow Jones Newswires reports.
The case against 12 web companies, filed by Indian journalist Vinay Ray and authorized by the Indian government claims that the defendants are not doing enough to censor web material that “seeks to create enmity, hatred and communal violence,” in accordance with Indian law. The plaintiffs are leaning on the companies to proactively monitor their services and remove material that is deemed objectionable, blasphemous or defamatory.
If the case is successful, executives from the companies could face jail time, and the companies may be fined.
Google and Facebook have acknowledged they are compelled under Indian law to censor certain material, but argue they must first be notified, and that it would be technically infeasible to monitor all material on their respective sites without the notices.
The companies have filed a high court case seeking to have the criminal trial quashed.