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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Filed Under: censorship, filter, free speech, great firewall, india, isps


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  • icon
    Shadow Dragon (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:32am

    Mo biggie

    It would never work because, How techinaly adapt the younger generation could get passed that in blink of an eye. They're just grasping at straws on that issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:32am

    No Surpise there...

    A Caste system still runs strong in that place.

    Political/Rich elites are near immune from the law!

    Control the Plebs!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:36am

    It's coming to US sooner or later. Remember how even Romney said he would be okay with a porn filter?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:13am

    I see zero moral equivalence between the US asking that sites in China selling drugs over the internet without any prescriptions whatsoever and India contemplating the blocking of what it deems to comprise porn sites and the like.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:29am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:38am

      Re:

      I'm curious -- since you see no moral equivalence, which do you think is the one that's OK and which is the one that's not?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Neither in my view is OK, but certainly a site that sells potentially lethal drugs without any limitations to the public is not one I am inclined to encourage remain actively engaged in commerce.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:14am

    Internet-censoring is way closer to home than that: the US vassal state (GB) already has such a filter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 2:16am

      Re:

      the US vassal state (GB) already has such a filter.

      Let me correct you

      the US vassal state (GB) pretends to have such a filter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 21 Nov 2014 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re:

        In practice: point taken.
        In politics: it's there, whether it works is irrelevant.

        All the excuse another country needs to establish their own version is an established `democracy' to point to.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:32am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:35am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 6:43am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:31am

    Worse yet is it sounds like part of the push for this censorship is public outrage over rape there, which has seen some high profile rape cases in the news lately. Yet, blocking porn will only likely make the rape problem worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:58am

    It might be easier for them to promote the generation of more of their own content, a bit like the French supported their film industry to avoid being overrun by les Americaines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:32pm

    It's funny how they have to "protect" their culture from something that users actually have to go out and search for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Typo

    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.

    You misspelled 'excuse'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zonker, 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:17pm

    Censor Porn And Other 'Undesirable' Content

    That's strange. To many people it seems that porn is actually quite desirable content, otherwise they wouldn't be spending so much money on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:03pm

      Re: Censor Porn And Other 'Undesirable' Content

      Yeah, but some people, and a whole lot of politicians, have a downright unhealthy obsession with what other people do in the privacy of their own homes and bedrooms. A giant pack of wannabe voyeurs if you will.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re: Censor Porn And Other 'Undesirable' Content

        "A giant pack of wannabe voyeurs if you will."

        They should check out that porn, then. I think they'll find quite a lot of it is aimed directly at voyeurs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LokSatta, 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:20pm

    Useless politicians

    Exactly what an already sexually frustrated country needs, less porn! Useless politicians and their right-wing agenda!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RonKaminsky (profile), 22 Nov 2014 @ 4:10am

    How will they define porn?

    I wonder how they'll define "porn" (besides: "whatever the government doesn't like"), considering the cultural heritage of the Kama Sutra and its ilk?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hitler, 24 Nov 2014 @ 9:45pm

    Starve India for FUN!

    I will be eating my turkey and my cake on Thanksgiving Day! I am a gay man. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Indians starving to death in India! I would love to kill you myself but I am not there! HA HA HA! Enjoy starving to death India! Hitler sends his love!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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