I'm a software developer interested in knowing the legal aspects of Internet and technology. I came across the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 which says
"telegraph" means any appliance, instrument, material or apparatus used or capable of use for transmission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, visual or other electro-magnetic emissions, Radio waves or Hertzian waves, galvanic, electric or magnetic means."
The Act later says:
Telegraph officer or other official making away with or altering, or unlawfully intercepting or disclosing, messages, or divulging purport of signals If any telegraph officer, or any person, not being a telegraph officer but having official duties connected with any office which is used as a telegraph office.
- willfully, secrets, makes away with or alters any message which he has received for transmission or delivery, or
- willfully, and otherwise than in obedience to an order of the Central Government or of a State Government, or of an officer specially authorized [by the Central or a State Government] to make the order, omits to transmit, or intercepts or detains, any message or any part thereof, or otherwise than in pursuance of his official duty or in obedience to the direction of a competent Court, discloses the contents or any part the contents of any message, to any person not entitled to receive the same, or
- divulges the purport of any telegraphic signal to any person not entitled to become acquainted with the same,
he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
I want to know:
Does email communication and personal messaging services come under the purview of the Telegraph Act?
If 1 is yes, then it is legal for Google and Facebook to read my emails and personal messages?