Thursday, January 26, 2012

Video Conferencing Laws In India

Video conferencing is increasingly being used for the purposes of digital evidencing in India. Video conferencing would also be an important part of e-courts of India once they would be established. Presently, video conferencing is used for many computerised courts in India.

The information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the cyber law of India that has provided a legal framework for electronic governance, electronic commerce and many other aspects of online dealing. By implications, the IT Act 2000 also allows use of video conferencing for various purposes.

Despite these provisions and active use of video conferencing in India, video conferencing in India is a troubled technology. The recent episode of Rajasthan government and Rajasthan police not allowing the video conferencing of Salman Rushdie shows Indian anxiety with use information technology.

This controversy happened because we have no dedicated video conferencing laws and regulations in India. Obviously, we have no dedicated video conferencing blocking laws in India as well. In the absence of a clear cut law, Indian government is still applying traditional methods to regulate video conferencing in India. However, if at all any law applies to video conferencing in India the same must be the IT Act 2000 and not any Police Act or local law.

Surprisingly, few of our posts pertaining to video conferencing disappeared from Google India’s SERPs and Blogs search results and appeared again only after reporting of the same. It seems controversial posts that are well within the constitutional right to speech and expressions are screened in India once they are posted. But who is doing so is still a big question that must be answered to properly analyse the role of Internet intermediaries in India in this regard.

While Internet intermediaries have declined to pre screen users generated contents yet post screening is happening in many cases. If this post screening is happening due to Internet intermediary law of India then such post screening and removal may be fine if legally and constitutionally done. This is so because if the companies and Internet intermediaries fail to observe cyber law due diligence in India they may face civil and criminal trials in India.

It would be a good idea to clarify the position of use of video conferencing in India by Indian government so that its uses, abuses and regulation can be legally managed.