Government denies censoring Internet

Government denies censoring Internet

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has refuted charges that the Centre is censoring Internet, in the wake of its move to check objectionable content on the social media.

“There is no censorship at all. We decided on taking action because there were pictures of Myammar etc online, which were disturbing the atmosphere here in India. We are not taking action against other accounts, be it on Facebook, Twitter or even SMSes,” Shinde told reporters.

Minister for Communication and Information and Technology Kapil Sibal said his department has identified 28 URL numbers under which objectionable material is being shown for blocking.

“Now the government does not know that who is behind these URL numbers, only Twitter and other sites are aware about it. Later if those URL numbers are innocent, and then the accusations would be thrown at the government. Actually we don’t have the identities; we have no way to find out the identities,” Sibal said.

In coordination with the MHA, the DoT issued directive to all internet service providers (ISPs) for blocking objectionable content. "You are directed to block the access to above URLs only and not the main websites like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter."

Other than that, the ISPs were told to block fake accounts of the Prime Minister’s Office, certain links of media organizations and journalists.

The Prime Minister`s Office had asked Twitter to take appropriate action against 6 people impersonating the PMO. “When they did not reply for a long time, the Government Cyber Security Cell was requested to initiate action,” PMO stated in a statement issued on Friday.

Twitter, however, has now conveyed to the PMO that they have “removed the reported profiles due to violation of our Terms of Service regarding impersonation". “So, the accusations that we are aggressively targeting someone’s account or websites are incorrect,” the minister emphasised.

The minister clarified that India does not have jurisdicction over any website with servers outside the country, like Twitter. “We are happy that Facebook and Google are cooperating with us and the names of the objectionable sites that we had provided them have been blocked. We have also imposed restriction on those sites. But as far as Twitter is concerned, now they have said that they are ready for talks with us. But the solution to this problem should be a permanent one”.

The UPA government’s move to regulate the social media has taken a political turn, with the BJP Gujarat chief minister joining the netizens’ protest by blackening his twitter display snapshot.

However, after the miscreants started spreading morphed photographs , the MHA took steps to block more than 300 URLs and pages of Facebook and Twitter.

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