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Microsoft, Google Challenge High Court Order On Removal Of Intimate Images

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Tech giants Microsoft and Google have moved the Delhi High Court against its single-judge bench’s order directing search engines to proactively remove non-consensual intimate images (NCII) from the internet without requiring specific URLs.

The companies argue that implementing such directives is technologically unfeasible and exceeds the existing legal framework.

During proceedings before a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, Microsoft stated that complying with the single-judge’s directions is not feasible due to technological limitations and that the directives go beyond established legal boundaries.

The appeals by Microsoft and Google challenge a judgment delivered by Justice Subramonium Prasad on April 26.

It was revealed that Google has also filed a similar appeal, which is scheduled for consideration on May 9.

The court has decided to review both cases simultaneously.

Justice Prasad had cautioned social media intermediaries that they risk losing their liability protection if they fail to adhere to the timeframe specified under the Information Technology Rules for removing non-consensual intimate content.

He had said that search engines possess the necessary technology to remove NCII content without requiring victims to repeatedly seek the court’s intervention, and cannot claim helplessness in removing or disabling access to links containing illegal content.

Representing Microsoft, senior advocate Jayant Mehta argued that the single judge’s reliance on Meta’s tool for content removal is misplaced, as Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, does not host any content. He contended that complying with the court’s order to proactively search for and remove such content throughout the database is not feasible given current technology limitations.

Mr Mehta also pointed out the impracticality of deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to execute the directives, as AI would struggle to differentiate between consensual and non-consensual images.

​Tech giants Microsoft and Google have moved the Delhi High Court against its single-judge bench’s order directing search engines to proactively remove non-consensual intimate images (NCII) from the internet without requiring specific URLs. 

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