- Pichai stated that Google is determined to work constructively with governments and that a free and open internet is “foundational,” citing India’s long history of doing just that.
- Sundar Pichai remark comes after the Indian government sent a letter to social media companies requesting an update on whether they had complied with new IT guidelines.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, stated today that the company is committed to follow local laws and works constructively with governments as they examine and adopt regulatory frameworks to keep up with the fast-changing technology landscape.
“It’s obviously early days, and our local teams are very engaged… we always follow local laws and work constructively in every country where we operate. We have clear transparency reports, and we underline when we cooperate with government demands in our transparency reports “Mr. Pichai stated in a virtual conference with selected group of reporters from Asia Pacific.
He went on to say that a free and open internet is “foundational,” and that India has a long history of doing so.
As a company, we are quite clear about the importance of a free and open internet, and we advocate for it. We also interact constructively with authorities throughout the world, and we participate in these processes, which I believe is part of how we learn…”
He went on to say that the company respects legislative processes and will push back when necessary. “It’s a balance we’ve achieved around the world,” he explained.
Mr. Pichai stated that technology is affecting society in deeper and broader ways, and that the landscape is rapidly changing.
“As a result, we fully expect governments to thoroughly examine and enact regulatory frameworks. We view it as a natural part of societies figuring out how to govern and adapt themselves in this technology-intensive world, whether it’s Europe’s copyright directive or India’s information regulation, Pichai said.
“Google works constructively with regulators throughout the world and participates in these processes”, he said.
The new IT guidelines for social media companies, which came into force on Wednesday, are designed at making digital platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, and Google-which have witnessed a massive increase in usage in India over the last several years, more accountable and responsible for the content they host on their platform.
The new laws, which came into effect on February 25, compel large social media companies to undertake further due diligence, which includes appointing a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person, and a resident grievance officer.
‘Significant social media intermediaries, defined as those with more than 50 lakh registered users, were given three months to meet the new requirements. If these social media businesses do not follow the guidelines, they will lose their intermediary status, which grants them exemptions and certain immunity from liability for any third-party information and data they host. In other words, they may be subject to legal action.
Google has previously said that it has constantly invested in significant product changes, resources, and staff to guarantee that it combats illegal content in an effective and fair manner while also complying with local laws in the countries in which it operates.
These platforms must also remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours, as well as posts depicting nudity or modified photographs within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, according to the new laws.
According to the new guidelines, major social media companies must have a robust complaint redressal structure with an officer stationed in the country, and they must publish a monthly compliance report providing specifics of complaints received and actions done, as well as details of information removed proactively.
They’ll also have to display a physical contact address in India on their website, mobile app, or both.
WhatsApp has filed a complaint with the Delhi High Court, claiming that the requirement for the company to grant access to encrypted messages will violate privacy rights.
The government, on the other hand, has vehemently defended the new rules, claiming that requirement of messaging platforms like WhatsApp to reveal the origin of flagged messages does not violate privacy and that the new rules will have no influence on the popular free-messaging platform’s usual operation.