New Delhi, Nov 26: Internet portal Yahoo has approached the Delhi High Court against the Union home ministrys attempts to glean information about nearly a dozen Yahoo IDs/IP addresses it suspects are used by Islamic terrorists and Maoists.
The portal has challenged the legality of the governments decision to penalize it by slapping it with a fine of Rs 11 lakh because Yahoo refused to share profile details of the users of these email IDs that are under the scanner of the agencies.
Recently, the HC stayed the imposition of the fine, and sought a response from the Centre.
In its petition, Yahoo has raised questions on the right to privacy of a company that stores such sensitive data and to what extent authorities can coerce it to part with the information considered necessary to either track terror perpetrators or thwart future attacks.
The government cannot under the cloak of national security implications bypass legal procedures, the petitioner has argued, claiming the section and clauses invoked by the Union ministry to demand information from Yahoo doesnt empower the government to do so.
The petition cited many instances of notices sent to the web portal by the government during this year, where it cited an email ID and sought exhaustive details of the user and the IP address used over the past three months.
The firm said repeated notices were received and when it expressed its inability to furnish the information, arguing it was bound by confidentiality clause, the government levied a hefty fine for alleged non-compliance with provisions of the IT Act.
The intention is to coerce the petitioner into agreeing to toe the line of the government, it says, urging the court to intervene.
It stressed in the petition that after receiving the notices demanding information on mail IDs the portal informed the authorities that request wasnt made under proper channel, and it should have come from another authority dealing with cyber security, but the reasoning fell on deaf ears.
The company is duty bound to ensure complete confidentiality, the petition before the HC also argues defending the stand of Yahoo to refuse to divulge information.
Faced with a flurry of emails claiming responsibility for the Delhi HC blast earlier this year, the ministry had asked Yahoo to furnish details of these email IDs since some of them came from the web portal.