Expressing concern over the possible exploitation of children through the social networking websites, Delhi High Court has sought suggestions from Facebook and Google on how to protect children from such threats.
A bench of justice B D Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru voiced concerns over the Indian kids joining Facebook and other social networking websites and getting misled by adults.
“What we are worried about is children who have been part of the social network and some adults misleading them and taking advantage. We are also concern about the use of their data by the adults for their advantage," said the court.
"The counsel for Facebook Inc and Google Inc will file suggestions regarding the online media sited used by the minors in India and how their rights were protected within four weeks," it added.
During the hearing, the counsel for Facebook Inc. contended that the social networking site operated under the US law Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), as per which the site does not allows preteens.
The court noted that the rights of the children in the US are protected by the COPPA, and asked what measures have been taken to protect the Indian children.
"What will the Facebook do if a child is exploited online? Like American children, how do you protect the rights of Indian children," the court asked and setting July 16 as the next date of hearing the matter.
The court direction comes during hearing of a plea of former BJP leader K N Govindacharya, who sought recovery of taxes from these sites on their earnings form the India operations."Facebook gross revenue for previous year was $37 billion approximately but they are not paying due taxes to Indian government," says the petition, seeking safety of the data of 50 million Indian users, which was transferred "to the US and is being used for commercial gains in violation of the right to privacy".
The HC had last month had issued a notice to the Indian government, seeking explanation on how the children below 18 years were having accounts on social networking websites.
"How can children below 18 years have an agreement with any of the social network sites, including Facebook? The Union of India is directed to file an affidavit on the issue within 10 days," said the bench.
It further said that "Both Facebook Inc and Google Inc are US-based entities and are hereby impleaded as respondents. Notices should be issued to the newly added parties."
Source: Business Standard