Indian District Court restrains Google from sharing a users Gmail password

In an interesting twist of events, Indian district court (Vishakapatnam) has restrained Google from complying with a subpoena issued by the Superior Court of California, which ordered Google to share the password of the Gmail account belonging to an Indian citizen residing in Vishakhapatnam.


As per this blog:

“The Indian citizen, Mr. Kopisetty Sreeramulu, represented by M/s Badrinath & Madanmohan, informed the District Court that he had received an email, on 14th March, 2012, from informing him that they would share the information in his account, in pursuance to a subpoena from the Superior Court of California unless he could produce an order quashing the subpoena. Mr. Sreeramulu, a freelance IT professional, who provides services to U.S. based companies, does not appear to be a party to the litigation before the Superior Court of California. The litigation before the California court pertains to a dispute between two other parties and it appears that Mr. Sreeramulu, or rather his account, was in possession of certain documents or information which was vital to the litigation before the California court. Discovery of evidence under American laws is quite strict and applicable against even third parties who may possess evidence vital to litigation between other parties. “
(link to warrant of summons).

Interesting that the American court has directly asked Google to share the plaintiff’s password and did not channel it through the Indian government. In such cases, where there is no geographical ownership of content (and user id/password/server etc), is Google right in sharing Gmail password?


Is Indian government right in asking companies like Google, Yahoo etc to move their servers to India (and Indian user data to servers in India), in order to manage such cases effectively?

As per Google’s T&C:

The laws of California, U.S.A., excluding California’s conflict of laws rules, will apply to any disputes arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services. All claims arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services will be litigated exclusively in the federal or state courts of Santa Clara County, California, USA, and you and Google consent to personal jurisdiction in those courts.

So, can an Indian court challenge this?

Recommended Read: Facebook India says its not responsible for user generated content on the site, | Google’s First Implementation of Country Specific Censorship : Blogspot Redirected to in India

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