HC pulls up Facebook and Google for inadequate policies to protect children online

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the government as well as social media firms Facebook and Google for not having adequate policies to protect children

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 17, 2013 2:30 am

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the government as well as social media firms Facebook and Google for not having adequate policies to protect children from exposure to objectionable material online. During arguments on a plea by RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya,the High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bhakru noted that the website terms of use said the age limit for users varied according to the laws of the country. “You say that anyone under 13 cannot make a Facebook profile. That is according to US laws,what are the laws in India? What is the policy in India?” the court said.

During arguments,Govindacharya’s counsel Veerag Gupta also argued that the social media sites did not have any email address to lodge any complaints if a user came across objectionable content or found a profile page of a minor. The court asked the lawyers for Facebook to check if there was any option to file a complaint. “Is there an email address to complain if there is a minor using the website?” the court said.

Lawyers for Facebook and Google,who were asked to submit affidavits detailing measures that are available on their sites for protection against misuse,have also told the court that they cannot physically verify the age of the users and it is the responsibility of the legal guardians.

“Our terms of use clearly say that if a person is under 13 they cannot create an account. They need the permission of a guardian or parent to open the account. We also have cookies in the profile creation page that make sure that if someone has entered their age as under 13,they cannot return to the previous page to enter a different date of birth,” the counsel for Facebook said.

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