Computer engineer sues Google India over blocked email account

Neel Shukla claims that Google did not inform him about the objectionable photos but suspects that the action was taken due to a childhood photograph.

Image of Google mobile and hammer.

Neel Shukla, a computer engineer, has taken legal action against Google India, alleging that his email account was blocked without proper notification due to backing up what the company deemed ‘explicit child abuse’ content on Google Photos. Shukla claims Google failed to inform him about the objectionable photos but suspects the action was triggered by an innocent photo of him being bathed by his grandmother when he was two years old. Despite following Google’s grievance redressal mechanism, Shukla argues that the process is AI-based and needs more human intervention, allowing for only two appeals handled by AI.

Why does it matter?

As a result of the account suspension, Shukla reported being unable to access various personal and professional services, including Google Pay, Gmail, and Google Docs. His access to other email services and networks unrelated to Google, such as Discord and Reddit, was also cut off.

Shukla expressed frustration over the significant impact on his ability to conduct business as a self-employed individual, citing difficulties engaging with clients, scheduling work calls, and managing his calendar.

His plea to challenge the inaction of relevant authorities and seek the unlocking of his Google account has led to the Gujarat High Court issuing notices to Google India and others, including the Department of Science and Technology, the Directorate General of Police, State Cyber Crime Cell and CID Crime, asking for responses by 26 March. Justice Vaibhavi D Nanavati, who will preside over the case, also sent notices to the Central and state governments.