ILNS: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed search engines, including Google and Yahoo, to use automated tools to proactively identify and globally disable access to any content identical to the offending content in a plea filed by a college student, seeking removal of content from porn websites lifted from her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani said,
“It is evident that such publication would likely result in ostracisation and stigmatisation of the person concerned in society and therefore, immediate and efficacious remedy is required in such cases.”
The petition, filed by a college student, alleged that her photographs and images that she had posted on her private social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram have been taken without her knowledge or consent and have been posted on a pornographic website, ‘www.xhamster.com’.
The Counsel appearing for the petitioner stayed that the student’s photographs and images have become offensive by association.
The student alleged that she had already filed a complaint on the National Cyber-Crime Reporting Portal as well as to the jurisdictional police, but these complaints were not looked into and by reason of inaction on part of the authorities, the photographs had received some 15000 views within a week of being posted.
The Bench, while pronouncing the Judgement, noted
“The court is satisfied that the action of the petitioner’s photographs and images having been taken from her Facebook and Instagram accounts and having been posted on the website www.xhamster.com; and then having been re-posted onto other websites and online platforms, amounts prima facie to an offence under Section 67 of the IT Act, in addition to other offences under the IPC.”
The bench directed:
1. The petitioner to submit in writing, all available information relating to the offending content, including the Image URL and Web URL pertaining to the offending image files to the Investigating Officer.
2. The Delhi Police/ CyPAD Cell to remove/ disable access to the offending content from all websites and online platforms, forthwith and in any event within 24 hours from the receipt of information.
3. The search engines Google Search, Yahoo Search, Microsoft Bing and DuckDuckGo, to globally de-index and de-reference from their search results the offending content as identified by its Web URL and Image URL.
4. The search engines Google Search, Yahoo Search, Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, to endeavour to use automated tools, to proactively identify and globally disable access to any content which is exactly identical to the offending content, that may appear on any other websites/online platforms.
The bench, while disposing of the plea, appreciated the invaluable assistance rendered by the Amicus Curiae appointed in this matter Pavan Duggal.