India threatens to block Google, Facebook and chums
Court orders filtering of offensive stuff - 'like in China'
Google, Facebook and other internet companies have been warned by India's High Court that their websites could be blocked if they fail to remove "offensive, objectionable" content from their sites.
The Delhi High Court told representatives from Facebook and Google yesterday that the firms "must have a stringent check" in place to help prevent supposedly offensive material from being published on their networks.
"Otherwise, like in China, we may pass orders banning all such websites," said the court.
Summons were issued to Facebook, Google and 10 other foreign-based companies, according to a report from Press Trust of India.
Web biz bosses were told to appear before the Delhi court on 13 March to face criminal charges for allegedly hosting objectionable material on their sites. India's ministry of external affairs was asked to serve the summons on the companies.
Microsoft, Yahoo! and YouTube, which is owned by Google, were also cited in the hearing, which followed a private complaint filed in a lower court by Vinay Rai - a journalist who alleged that Google et al were publishing ghastly material.
"The accused are allowed exemption for today only but are directed to appear in person on the next date of hearing without fail," the court magistrate reportedly said.
Last month, Indian officials asked internet firms to get rid of content they considered to be offensive, following discussion with execs from Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft about moderating stuff online.
At the time, India's minister of communications and information technology, Kapil Sibal, denied that the demand amounted to censorship and instead claimed that the world's largest democracy with a population of 1.2 billion needed to protect the "sensibilities of our people". Sibal provided various examples of "unacceptable" content: faked naked pictures of Indian political leaders and religiously sensitive images.
The Register requested comment from Google and Facebook, but neither company had responded with a statement at time of writing. ®
I found the scenes of widespread poverty on the streets of Mumbai objectional. Perhaps the government should focus their efforts to feeding and providing shelter for the millions of homeless families instead of trying to censor their population against Beyonce videos on Youtube.
Also, as the "world's largest democracy" what percentage of the population actually has access to the internet?
Ban Google most of the Indian consultancies would close in a week.
Win all round.
Depends what their definition of objectionable is, doesn't is?
I mean, pr0n or just stuff that the government doesn't agree with? Like anti government blogs, etc...
"India's minister of information technology, denied that the demand amounted to censorship"
In other news, I have a house-trained bear, and the Pope is a Hindu.
Indian journos for cencorship?
Yes, India is a bloody large country. Why they feel the need to turn into China, though, is a bit beyond me. Even in a small country you can't please everyone, so why bother at all? You are free to not go there and refrain from looking at things you know would offend you. The Chinese very clearly do it to keep hold of their power. What do the Indians do it for? Are they not, in fact, actually democratic?