Sunday 14 March 2021

Whether Investigating Agency Can Retain Username/Password Of Accused Person's Social Media Platform?

The Facebook and Youtube accounts are important aspects of the Petitioner's business to carry out his day-to-day business, the Respondent-police cannot on the ground of investigation block the same as as to come in the way of Petitioner carrying out his day-to-day business. For the purpose of investigation only the integrity of the data is required to be preserved and that can be so done by downloading the relevant content from the Facebook and Youtube account of the Petitioner in the presence of the Petitioner after conducting a proper mahazar with W.P.No.11169 of 2020 the help of qualified technical persons. On such downloading, the data downloaded can be kept in safe custody for the purpose of investigation. 13.9. I answer point no. (iv) by holding that an investigating agency can not retain the user name and password of social media/digital platform like Facebook and YouTube pending investigation, the investigation agency can download the data required from such account and thereafter has to give back the changed credentials to the person who owns the said social media. The Respondents are therefore directed to handover new login credentials of W.P.No.11169 of 2020 the Facebook and Youtube account of the Petitioner within seven days from the date of receipt of certified copy of the order.

Karnataka High Court
Rakesh Shetty vs State Of Karnataka on 5 November, 2020
Author: Suraj Govindaraj

                                     W.P.No.11169 of 2020
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