The Internet censorship scene in India has been heating up for quite some time now. Late 2011, the Indian government and Telecom frontman Mr. Kapil Sibal asked Internet companies to pre screen objectionable content, which can be a blog post, a photo, a video or a tweet. Google, Facebook, YouTube and 19 other social networking sites were precisely told to remove inflammatory material before February 6th 2012.
[January 13th]: Objectionable Content Can’t Be Filtered – Google, Facebook.
On January 13th 2012, both Google and Facebook appealed to Delhi High court arguing that it is impossible to pre-screen content posted by thousands of internet users. Instead, the users should be held responsible, not the social site or the search engine.
“The search engine only takes you to a website. What happens after that is beyond a search engine’s control,” Neeraj Kishan Kaul, a lawyer for Google India, told a packed High Court hearing on Monday. “If you use blocks, which is very easy for people to say, you will inadvertently block other things as well. For example: the word ‘sex’. Even a government document like a voter ID list or a passport has the word ‘sex’,” he added.
[February 7th]: Objectionable Content Has Been Removed – Google.
Google India has now admitted that the company has removed or filtered controversial content that were flagged to be offensive towards religious and political leaders. Which websites or pages were removed? Google hasn’t revealed any names but the company is now adhering to the laws of the land and the legal requisitions of the government. Please note that the objectionable content has been removed only from Google’s localized India domain, the same content is accessible to users of a different country.
Just one week ago Google forced a new web address for all blogger blogs in India, shifting from a .com TLD to a more localized .in address. This is definitely in conjunction with selective censorship, as the search giant can control (and remove) objectionable content for Indian users only, while they will continue to be available in other countries.
Amongst other companies, the Delhi high court has issued directions to Facebook and Yahoo to take down offensive content at their earliest. Facebook India came up with a compliance report on Monday arguing that the complaints raised are not specific in nature. Facebook told the court that it does not control or operate the servers that host the website available at http://www.facebook.com , which are located in the US, according to a report from Indian Express. The operating party is Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd and not Facebook Inc.
Source: Amit Banerjee