Feeds

India asks Facebook and friends to screen content

Google and other net giants in meetings with gov over 'offensive content'

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Indian officials have joined the many governments that are beginning to get edgy about social media and the web, asking internet firms to get rid of content it considers offensive.

Reports late on Monday claimed that the government had had meetings with executives from Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft about moderating online content.

India's minister of communications and information technology, Kapil Sibal, confirmed the meetings today, but denied that the request was censorship.

"We have to take care of the sensibilities of our people," Sibal told reporters during a press conference in New Delhi, The New York Times reported.

"Cultural ethos is very important to us," he added.

But he emphasised that there were things on the internet that "any normal human being would be offended by".

The government wants the companies to come up with a way to get rid of the "offensive" content as soon as it's made, no matter which country it's created in, Sibal added.

Sibal was not keen to define exactly what was meant by "offensive" content, but said he had seen things on the net that would "hurt the religious sentiments of large sections of the community".

Facebook said in a widely reported statement that it would remove any content "that violates our terms, which are designed to keep material that is hateful, threatening, incites violence or contains nudity off the service".

"We recognise the government's interest in minimising the amount of abusive content that is available online and will continue to engage with the Indian authorities as they debate this important issue," the social network added.

Google told the Associated Press that it takes down content that violates local laws and its own standards.

"But when content is legal and doesn't violate our policies, we won't remove it just because it's controversial, as we believe that people's differing views, so long as they're legal, should be respected and protected," the web giant added.

The news started the hashtag #idiotkapilsibal on Twitter and earned the minister an additional Facebook Page called We Hate Kapil Sibal, as India's millions of internet users took to social media to criticise the move.

India has been becoming more concerned over internet and mobile security in recent times. Back in August, the department of telecommunications was threatening to shut down BlackBerry services in the country if RIM didn't give the government more access to the encrypted messages.

While China is the first country that springs to mind when thinking of internet censorship, many countries are getting worried about the power of social media to drive civil unrest. Even in the UK, the government brought in execs from Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry after the London riots to look at their companies' role in the disturbances. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?
Wait 'til this one hits your pension fund where it hurts
Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age
Massive outage could last four weeks, sources claim
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.