Information of Dominos Pizza customers hacked- Delhi HC orders instant deletion of hacked resources
A writ petition was filed by Jubilant Food works Limited before the Delhi High Court. In the petition, the petitioner who manages Dominos Pizza stores in India alleged that the information of thousands of its customers has been illegally hacked and shared on various platforms on the internet thereby infringing their privacy.
These digital resources or data were owned by the petitioner. The hackers without authorization unlawfully accessed the secured databases and shared it on the uniform resource locators(s) (URLs) thereby actively violating Section 43 and 66 of Information Technology Act, 2000 and sections 384/506/34 of IPC. Henceforth petitioner pleaded before the high court to expeditiously request the respondents (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology & The Department of Communications, Ministry of Communications) considering them to be the appropriate authorities to direct its intermediaries like telecom service providers, internet service providers, search engines to delete or disable access to the hacked URLs as per the clause (b) of sub section (3) of section 79 of the IT Act read with Rule 3(1) (d) of the 2021 Rules.
The petitioner further expressed its concern that failure to take immediate action against the hackers will not only incur reputational risk to the petitioner but will also largely impact the privacy of thousands of customers. It will merely give chance to the hackers to further re-post, re-publish and re-direct the secured databases. An offer to sell the hacked resources in one of the advertisement posts on the URLs seconded the fear of the petitioner. It is also alleged that an attempt to intimidate and extort hefty amount was made by the hackers. Under these alarming circumstances the petitioner seeked courts interference.
The learned counsel on the behalf of Dominos referred to the recent judgment of X v. Union of India, 2021 where the court had laid down detailed procedure and direction to the competent authorities for restricting, monitoring further access and circulation of offending content within the certain time frame upon the receipt of court order.
The learned counsel on the behalf of respondent submitted that the URLs have been already blocked and they shall continue to take appropriate measures as and when the petitioner shall file a complaint before them as such.
DELHI HIGH COURT OBSERVATION-
The bench headed by Justice Yogesh Khanna observed the relevance of the case and ruled that the respondents along with the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police are obligated to act as per law and follow the rules established in X vs. Union of India. It further granted liberty to the petitioner to make written communication to the investigating officer for deletion or access disablement of offending content appearing including URLs on any other website or online platform search engine(s). The investigating officer is bound to comply with such request, immediately and in any event within 72 hours of receiving such written communication from the petitioner.
The current incident led to the infringement of privacy of large number of innocent customers and the hackers are yet to be caught red handed. The petition is disposed off in regard to this matter.
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