Acting on a petition filed by K N Govindacharya, a BJP leader, the Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Government asking them how they could allow children below 18 years of age to sign up for social media sites like Facebook and Google+. (via)
The Delhi court bench has asked the government to explain how such lapses of credential verification for minors on social networking sites such as Facebook and Google are not checked. The Bench consisting of Justices B.D. Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru have asked for the response to be given within 10 days. It posted the matter on May 13 for further hearing.
Opening a Facebook account is easy even if you are a minor and this ease of accessibility is what is concerning most parents nowadays. There is no verification of the users credential, all you need is a valid email address to verify your id. With most school going children having email access, opening Facebook accounts is child’s play.Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. were also issued notices by the court in regard with the petition and the companies have responded to the notice.
The lawyer for the BJP leader, Virag Gupta, argued that the terms and agreement accepted between the minors and the social media sites were against the Indian Majority Act, the Indian Contract Act and the Information Technology Act.Another issue raised by the lawyer was in regard of the issue of invasion of privacy of users of the sites as their data was being transferred to the U.S. for commercial use.
According to a report in The Hindu, Gupta, has said
The government had framed detailed guidelines for ‘Know Your Customer’ norms for all sectors and more specifically for verification of mobile subscribers by telecom companies. However, these norms were not being followed by the sites, thus posing a grave security risk to the nation.
Some of these companies have also previously gotten into trouble with the Indian government and Indian courts at various stages.
So what now? Produce KYC documents to sign up for Facebook?