US internet companies have to follow India’s law: Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekar

The government made it clear on Thursday that internet companies ‘would have to abide by India’s laws’ if they want to operate in the country.

“We don’t believe in censorship of any kind. India firmly believes in democracy and freedom of speech. But as in anywhere in the world, any company wishing to operate in a country, has to follow the law of the land,” India’s IT and Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekar said on the on the sidelines of the India Digital Summit, organized by Internet and Mobile Association of India, where Google was the main sponsor.

He was speaking to reporters on Government sanctioning the prosecution of Facebook and Google in India’s courts over the issue of objectionable content.

“There has to be some mechanism (to control content). We have to find a technology solution to it,” he added. He reiterated that companies have to follow the law of the land and the issue won’t impact investments in India’s internet sector. India is now the third largest internet user base, with about 121 million users, after China and the US.

The sanction by India’s Department of IT means that summons would be sent to the US based internet companies, with the help of Ministry of External Affairs.

NK Kaul, Google India’s lawyer says that considering the vastness of internet, and billions of pieces of content being uploaded on the internet it is difficult to find a technology solution to pre-screen content. “Controlling internet is not in favour of India’s democracy,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Justice Suresh Cait, who is hearing the matter in the Delhi Court has adjourned the hearing on the case, till February 2, 2012.

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