Indian Government And Telcos Explore How To Build Great Firewall Of India To Censor Porn And Other 'Undesirable' Content

from the censorship-is-its-own-reward dept

Over the last few years, we’ve noted that India is among those countries that have been increasingly looking to censor parts of the internet, with porn being a particular target. It appears that at least some of those plans are moving forward. News reports are detailing how government officials and a variety of telco execs recently all gathered to discuss how they might go about censoring the internet on a mass scale. From Medianama:

On September 5th 2014, 23 individuals, including Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, CERT-IN head Gulshan Rai, government officials from DoT, Deity, CBI, as well as representatives of industry bodies like IAMAI, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CII met in the Conference Room No. 1007 at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) to discuss how such a filter might be implemented?Not whether there should be a filter at all, but how such a filter should be implemented.

In fact, when NASSCOM raised the issue of blocking legitimate content, the Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who chaired the meeting, said that the ?larger issue of respecting cultural values of the country and sentiments of the Indian society need to be considered and all possible ways and means may have to be devised in this context.?

Medianama details the many problems and concerns of such a plan, including the simple fact that plenty of legitimate content will likely be sucked up into this filter, that there’s no transparency in what’s blocked and what’s allowed — and that once a filter is in place, the intent and type of content blocked will inevitably increase.

It is truly worrisome that this is the world we’re heading towards, where something that was once seen as only the sort of thing that happened in authoritarian countries like China and Iran will start to become the norm. And while the US is unlikely to go quite as far, it has to be acknowledged that the US government is all for censoring certain websites with little to no transparency or due process, meaning that the US doesn’t even have a moral leg to stand on if it protests other countries setting up their own censorship regimes.

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Comments on “Indian Government And Telcos Explore How To Build Great Firewall Of India To Censor Porn And Other 'Undesirable' Content”

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24 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Let me help with you that.

A web site is merely a collection of bytes and code. It’s not a drug — prescription or otherwise.

If country A wants to censor porn and country B wants to censor so-called “hate speech” and country C wants to censor “extremist/terrorist speech” and country D wants to censor “anti-State” speech and country E wants to censor drug speech and country F wants to censor non-country-F speech, then all of them are engaged in censorship. It’s just a question of what their purpose and methods are — and whether you or I or anyone else happen to agree with those.

It’s all easy to justify when one has an agenda: “oh, dear, we must, simply MUST, defend our little children from the poisonous ideas of the Elbonian separatists!” But it’s still censorship and it’s still repugnant.

Incidentally, it’s a pity that the Indian government is concerning itself with a non-issue like this while failing to take substantive and effective against the rape culture that pervades their country and has been responsible for some absolutely horrific incidents. I suppose it’s easier to sit around in comfortable meeting rooms with catered lunches and pontificate about principles than to get off your ass and actually investigate, arrest, try and convict the assholes responsible for gang rapes and murders.

Anonymous Coward says:

something that is never put out is the list of names who decide what should be available to and visible to who. if porn is so bad, why doesn’t the government stamp it out? the reason is simple, the governments everywhere dont want to because the industry brings in an absolute fortune every year, even though it’s doubtful if the real amount owed to the governments is paid. as usual what the governments do is all for show. they have to be seen to be trying to stamp out a ‘thing’ while not stamping it out. it’s the same with smoking. every government complains about the amount spent in medical care for those who smoke, but never stop it. all they do is complain about it and up the tax collected from the sales.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why dont they build THEIR OWN DAMN internet, instead of corupting and warping the peoples internet, or is the fact that it IS the peoples internet that scares them into action

Well, duh. Of course, this is an attempt to control the minds and bodies of people. That is how things like this should always be seen. The net is just the fulcrum. Power to control your thoughts and actions is what they seek.

Now you know what game is being played.

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