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India Joins China in Censoring Websites 303

Posted by timothy
from the keeping-up-with-the-wangs dept.
cpatil writes "On the directions of the government of India, Indian ISPs have started censoring and blocking web properties. This was first noticed by Indian bloggers and upon inquiring with their respective ISPs, the actions are confirmed. Unfortunately, Blogspot and TypePad are the targets till now." There's an ongoing discussion of the censorship on GoogleGroups. The rediff.com coverage linked above indicates that the blocking is based on a list issued by India's Department of Telecommunications.
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India Joins China in Censoring Websites

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:24PM (#15732441) Homepage Journal
    For some, it seems odd that a radical anarcho-capitalist would support ANY State action, especially censorship. There is usually only one anti-State camp: the people who want to dismiss the State through some means (voting, bloody revolution, non-violent revolution, black market lifestyle, etc). I don't see ANY way to get rid of the State and any of its forms of coercion (including censorship) through any of the previous means. Every time a right is taken away by a State, every time the State steals from you in the form of taxation and every time the State decides it can help large groups, it does so at very little cost to the individual. You and I won't do anything to prevent US$1 a year from being taken from us, or some fringe right that we don't really see heling our existence. Yet when you combine all those little US$1 fees taken from each individual in the US, someone is earning billions. That person will work extra hard to protect that income, but the millions won't work extra hard to fight a US$1 fee annually. The same is true with rights -- most people won't worry about their basic rights because they feel mostly free. When 10 million people are harmed by an infringement, 290 million residents aren't. Why should they care about 0.3% of the population?

    The reason I support State censorship of all media is the same reason why I support the State in all of its madness: the more they do to harm us, the more the free market will provide means for entrepreneurs to find new ways around the madness.

    Many of the towns near me have increased their sales tax: up to 9% in some towns! The free market provided loopholes around sales tax for years, and the Internet is the ultimate form of working around the local madness. I don't buy very much locally anymore, and I get to save a huge amount that the State would usually get. It makes me laugh when the local politicians argue about what they're losing to the web. They stole from me, now I get to take it back.

    Many of the towns near me are starting to create smoke free "public places" which exist within private property. You can't smoke in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, anywhere. The free market is opening up amazing private property venues for me -- I've already visited 4 private dinner clubs -- the houses of famous and strong chefs in the region who gave up their jobs in order to provide exceptional meals to private consumers. They don't charge a fee, they ask for a donation. For US$50, I can get an amazing meal that gets around most of the regulations of the restaurant-restrictions placed. I can smoke, the chef can cook foods in ways that restaurants often can't, and I pay less than 1/3rd of the usual fee. Some dinner clubs include great wine, and the service is top notch. The chef doesn't worry about income taxes or permits or paying off the local zoning authority and health agency -- and I have yet to hear of anyone getting sick or the like. Good for me, good for the chef, bad for the State.

    Let the State censor all of us -- it will only give entrepreneurs more reason to find anonymous replacements of the publicly regulated web. Give it time and who knows what will happen. If every device will be State-required to have some sort of "control" mechanism or DRM or who-knows-what, someone will develop a private hive network on our cell phones or PDAs or old hardware. As long as the State restricts, the market will find ways to provide.

    The State: let it grow, let it restrain, let it fail to provide and let the imbeciles that support it think they're doing good for others. I've already found my ways to ignore it in 70% of my life. Eventually I'll extend that more, and not be concerned with what the mad majority wants to do this year that will harm people for generations.
    • Interesting thought. I'm curious to hear what you think about organizations that push/support the state censorship though. And then they pursue those who seek alternative measures to bypass it.
      • The State has only one intention in mind: create criminals. Nothing the State does can be considered otherwise. This means that people will suffer when some non-violent act is considered criminal. Look at drug laws: they don't work, but they're a great way for the State to expand its income. The same is true of any action that is non-violent in nature (drugs, prostitution, home schooling, gambling, selling, buying, etc).

        When the State decides to censor people, it comes in two ways: direct censorship ("You can't talk about subject A") and indirect censorship ("You can't talk about subject B that someone else already talked about"). Subject A is the type of censorship that China and now India are doing. Subject B covers copyright and patents -- both are censorships against words and actions a person wants to perform with his own time, on his own property, using his own body and tools.

        There is only one reason for either type of censorship: to protect the interests of an elite individual or group. Subject B censorship (copyright and patents) protects distribution cartels -- the few who control the distribution of content or specific items. Subject A censorship (direct prevention of talking about a certain subject) protects the State itself -- giving major power that is usually used against "enemies" of the State. Both States are corrupt -- if you go to jail because of a corrupt system, there is little that can be done to protect your interests.

        We'll hear cries for our own State to work against the States that are censoring others, even though the State we live in is no better. I guess the best defense for my black-market support around censorship is that some eggs will break in order to make the best omelet. Some people will go to jail or will just disappear -- these are those who are directly harmed by the State. Yet millions more will be given more freedoms in whatever the free/black market provides to get around the restrictions and regulations. Over time, this will make us more free in the shadow of the State -- eventually technology will get to the point that no restrictions will be possible on anything the State does. This is a _good_ thing and it is why I consider the "Internet" the most anarcho-capitalist society in existence.

        Do I want to be the one to disappear in a cell (or a ditch)? Absolutely not. I was recently in China, and everyone there already has good ways around the State. The government can pretend that their censorship is working, but most Westerners are completely ignorant of the reason behind censorship by China (and India, where I also just visited for almost a month) -- jailing political opponents. The censorship has nothing to do with real topics or anonymous groups -- it is just another tool for the State to get rid of their opponents. It is no different that the "Watch your neighbor" tactics of the USSR, and the US decades ago.
        • Interesting once again. To be frank, I agree :). The state was orginally, a long long long time ago was created to maintain order. To maintain order it needed money to enforce it. And to get money they use taxes, tarrifs, "friendly" donations when the tax man use to knock on your door. In the threat of losing their power, they may act even stricter. Even resorting to methods like jailing or making people dissapear to maintain their influence. But they can't catch everyone, and eventually (hopefully) the s
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:29PM (#15732487)
      The problem with what you suggest is that eventually physical violence will be necessary in order for individuals to exercise their rights. You're encouraging the state to do its worst, which makes me think you need to go back and read some Solzhenitsyn to see just what the "worst" looks like.

      Advocating such a policy seems irresponsible, especially since we haven't yet figured out how to convince the so-called "progressive" elements of society that self-defense is, in fact, a basic human right. You're basically saying we should turn a bunch of wolves loose in a pen of sheep.
      • The problem with what you suggest is that eventually physical violence will be necessary in order for individuals to exercise their rights.

        Um, yeah. That's pretty much how it's been for every single empire in history. Except India, maybe. But even then Ghandi had to die before they really got into it.
      • The problem with what you suggest is that eventually physical violence will be necessary in order for individuals to exercise their rights.

        So it would seem, but I don't think that is true. In the old days, the State had their local enforces: people who spied on others for the State. Today, the State seems to rely more and more on technology. As many of us geeks know, logs are very hard to maintain. Even with NSA-level search algorithms and routines, it is likely that the State will only try to watch ove
    • by rob1980 (941751) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:30PM (#15732495)
      I'd just as soon rather have the government not pester me in the first place as opposed to engaging in the cat and mouse game that you seem to prefer.
    • They stole from me, now I get to take it back.

      Actually, you just get to stop them from stealing from you now . They still have the money they taxed away last week.

    • by kfg (145172) * on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:38PM (#15732575)
      The reason I support State censorship of all media is the same reason why I support the State in all of its madness: the more they do to harm us, the more the free market will provide means for entrepreneurs to find new ways around the madness.

      Bearing in mind that we call such free marketeers "pirates" and "terrorists" and toruture and shoot them.

      Thank you for your patronage and enjoy your Soviet style "free market." We couldn't do it without you.

      The State

      KFG
      • Bearing in mind that we call such free marketeers "pirates" and "terrorists" and toruture and shoot them.

        For now. Give it 5-10 years and there will be more than enough anonymity devices to protect anything the State considers deviant thought or action.

        Thank you for your patronage and enjoy your Soviet style "free market." We couldn't do it without you.

        The difference between the Soviet Union and today is that the USSR had no Internet, technology worldwide wasn't very advanced and the ability to communicate
        • by indifferent children (842621) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:11PM (#15732793)
          All of these things have changed thanks to the free market entrepreneurship that continues to advance technology and the Internet.

          And DARPA. For some odd reason, the participants in the free market never saw building a global packet network as an opportunity.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:16PM (#15733346)
            For some odd reason, the participants in the free market never saw building a global packet network as an opportunity.

            Uh, what about the privately run X.25 networks (Compuserve, Tymnet, and Telenet)? These were operating in the early 70's when TCP/IP was still "in the crib." So TCP/IP won out in the end...

            The first commercial ISP (UUNET) appeared in 1987 when there were only about 10,000 hosts on the Internet.

            By 1991, the Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX) connected General Atomics (CERFnet), PSInet, and UUNET. So despite TCP/IP being development mainly by the military-industrial complex, it was rapidly taken up by commercial interests. Keep in mind that the NSF AUPs made Internet commercialization difficult before then.

            I've seen plenty of free market global packet networks built...
        • "Bearing in mind that we call such free marketeers "pirates" and "terrorists" and toruture and shoot them."
          For now. Give it 5-10 years and there will be more than enough anonymity devices to protect anything the State considers deviant thought or action.

          Thats the most weak and naieve thing ive ever read. Have you considered the possibilty of you being shot or locked up long before such devices - which would certainly be illegal to produce, distribute, possess - come into exsistance? Not to mention the idea

        • For now. Give it 5-10 years and there will be more than enough anonymity devices to protect anything the State considers deviant thought or action.

          Once burned, twice shy: I'm still waiting for my flying car.
    • You do realize, of course, that you're still supposed to report purchases made online, so that you can pay taxes on them, right? They've already closed that loophole. You're just breaking the law when you try to exploit it.
    • by dr_dank (472072) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:48PM (#15732647) Homepage Journal
      I *hiccup* came up with this swell drinkin' *hiccup* game. Every time the parent *hiccup* poster recommends the free market as the solution to *hiccup* everything, you take a shot.

      I've made it halfway through his post *hiccup* and I'm still stan....

      *THUD*
      NO CARRIER
    • by gentimjs (930934) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:50PM (#15732660) Journal
      And people here call me nuts when I suggest slashdot is crawling with Austrian-School anarchist whackjobs.... /me rolls eyes. Take all these "anarcho-capitalists" and put them on a desert island for a week ... the one left alive after that week probably wont be an anarcho-capitalist anymore... /me is center-seeking and dislikes all extreemes.
      • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:57PM (#15732712) Homepage Journal
        What does "center-seeking" mean? There is no "center" between being a Statist and being Anarcho-capitalist. Either you think freedom requires the State or it doesn't. There is no "center" there.

        My reasons why the State shouldn't exist is proven every day -- just spend a day at your local courthouse, take note of every law that is violated, and think about what the person did that directly harmed a specific individual with that action. I do this about 3 times a year, and so far the best day for the State is when 9 out of 600 cases had to do with a specific crime against an individual's property, body or tool. 591 cases were "The People against ABC" and ABC didn't do anything that hurt anyone directly. This was on their best day!

        I'd rather live in a world where those 9 people who were hurt are still hurt, maybe 27 people even, than in a world where 591 people go to jail or lose in court because of the State's desire for more power and money and the control of the expansion of both power and money.
        • If someone calls you a "whack-job" and then you call them a "Statist" you just proved their point.
        • There is no center but there is a balance. Sometimes you have to give more to the left than the right and sometimes you have to give more to the right then you give to the left. The problem we face in the current U.S. political sphere, and I'd wager in other western democracies as well, is that neither side wants to budge from their position an d whichever political party dominates the government pushes their parties agendas. The people do not enter the equation in any significant manner except to vote.
          • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:25PM (#15732922) Homepage Journal
            But the Left and the Right are almost identical all over the world -- both sides are just vying for personal power of the politician. Neither side has any ideology that differs much from the other in the long run.

            I remember when the Right in the US was against public schooling, public health care and welfare. That is no longer true. I remember when the Left in the US was against Big Business, internal improvements and war. Again, no longer true. By "center" you just mean "center-Statist." There are two sides of the political coin: those who believe in the market of competition and those who believe in the monopoly of force. Center/Left/Right-ists are aligned on the monopoly of force side of the coin.
            • No, I don't mean center-statist so don't put words in my mouth. My view of center is based on the reality that the ideologies of the left and right are vastly different despite the manner in which many politicians put them into practice. Somewhere in the middle is a balance and government should strive to find the balance for the good of society instead of trying to foist their ideology upon all citizens.
            • I think you're confusing "all over the world" with "in the US". The latter is true, the former most certainly isn't.
        • by jsm (5728) <james@jmarshall.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:31PM (#15732964) Homepage

          ... because of the State's desire for more power and money and the control of the expansion of both power and money.

          Large businesses do the same thing. The difference is that the government has to at least pretend to be acting in the interest of the voters. With private industry in power, there is no voting them out.

          I'm sure you can name a few large corporations whose fiercely-guarded monopolies and influence on our governments makes them more resemble Soviet-era state-owned industries than a "free market".

          • I can not name ONE private corporation that doesn't have to meet the needs of their consumers in order to exist -- each and every day.

            I can also not name ONE private corporation that has attained anything close to a monopoly without the State backing them up -- the very State that you voters democractically elected on your behalf. Natural monopolies do not exist, can not exist and would never exist without a State backing them up completely.
            • [i]I can also not name ONE private corporation that has attained anything close to a monopoly without the State backing them up [/i] I can ... Microsoft. In fact one of the reasons there arent too many monopolies is that most states have monopoly-control laws.
            • What about Mr J. J. Hill, who you are so fond of? Did he or did he not establish regional monopolies without the force of the state to back him up?

              For you to deny the concept of a natural monopoly flies in the face of every major modern economic school of thought... I'm very curious as to why you just dismiss the notion. Even the Austrian model requires adjustments for mono/oligopoly force.
        • I'd rather live in a world where those 9 people who were hurt are still hurt, maybe 27 people even, than in a world where 591 people go to jail or lose in court because of the State's desire for more power and money and the control of the expansion of both power and money.

          And yet the free market ideals you espouse would allow corporations to, in effect, do the same thing. The difference is that, ideally, government acts in the interest of the people (though it tends to become misguided), whereas an ultra-p

        • by S.P.B.Wylie (983357) on Monday July 17, 2006 @06:20PM (#15734209)
          And it never EVER does. Government is a permanent in society. Allow my to show a example. Let's say there is no government. Someone has a big gun (or other weapon), and you do not. You, on the other hand, have found a way to sustain you and your family off the land. The guy with the gun (lets call him Bob) figures out that if he threatens you, he can just steal your stuff. Bob does this to several groups over a period of time. The groups finally have decided that they have had enough, and they band together to stop the threat. They take out Bob, and also decide if anything like this threatens them like this again, they will band together again. They pledge to work together to stop stealing and murder in their groups.

          And just like that, there is government. Actually, if you paid attention, two states formed: first a dictatorship by Bob, they a group lead state (democracy-like) for the common good. And it isn't a far step to control other things. Lets say there is a drought. Groups realize that if other groups die, they have less protection, so they feed the group. Or they realize that the same thing could happen to them, and they help the other groups so the other groups will do the same for them one day. Now the government is a function of not just protection, but welfare. This highlights a few facts of government:
          1. States are a constant. As long as we remain social creatures, they will always exist.
          2. States can just be a community banding together for the common good. It is just a function of organized society.
          3. States can be formed for the majority (the groups) or the minority (Bob). Your choice.

          There is a great quote from Churchill, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for everything we have tried so far." If state is a constant, as I have shown, then it is better to have a government run by the group then an individual. Now, you may argue that America is run by individuals, but they are elected officials. To get office, they must appeal to the people for support, so if they do something stupid, you can't remove responsibility from the people. Who you are really mad at are people that allow oppressive and/or stupid laws/individuals to remain. Don't like it, work to change it: educate people. Support better schools to teach people how the world works... Wait, you don't like paying taxes, do you. Then I guess your right: there is no hope. Sorry for disagreeing
      • Take all these "anarcho-capitalists" and put them on a desert island for a week ...

        I might suggest that simply setting up a business in Somalia might provide an educational experience.

        KFG
      • And people here call me nuts when I suggest slashdot is crawling with Austrian-School anarchist whackjobs.... /me rolls eyes. Take all these "anarcho-capitalists" and put them on a desert island for a week ... the one left alive after that week probably wont be an anarcho-capitalist anymore... /me is center-seeking and dislikes all extreemes.

        Where do people like you get off. If you said this in any real context, you would be the one considered extreme. When they said the earth centered arround the sun

        • I dont care about what -feels- extreme, as you put it. I care about what is correct, like you suggest. I simply feel that the "extremes" of anarcho-capitalism and complete-state-dominance are both "incorrect".
    • while I see your point, it breaks down as the state continues to grow.

      the state does NOT want people working around it, and left unchecked it will flex it's growing muscle to PREVENT those who do work around it - with manipulation, increasing force, and eventually simply locking up, toturing and killing those who rebel.

      This is simply a question of some people thinking it's OK to control other people. To a small degree, it works - and keeps order, to a larger degree, it still works, but people start to get
      • the state does NOT want people working around it, and left unchecked it will flex it's growing muscle to PREVENT those who do work around it - with manipulation, increasing force, and eventually simply locking up, toturing and killing those who rebel.

        Of course it doesn't, but when the State gets too aggressive, it falls apart. The USSR fell apart because communications were growing, technology was freeing people from the State's monopoly over them, and the government got too big to spy on everyone. I was
    • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:04PM (#15732755) Homepage
      The reason I support State censorship of all media is the same reason why I support the State in all of its madness: the more they do to harm us, the more the free market will provide means for entrepreneurs to find new ways around the madness.
      You're absolutely right. This is the same reason I go around sucker-punching total strangers. I figure that the more often I sneak up behind someone and ram my fist into their kidneys, the more motivation they'll have to ummmm.... avoid getting sucker-punched in the kidneys?

      I also go around stealing things left unattended, like books, backpacks, and small children. This increases people's motivation to pay attention to their private property, which is good because you never know what sort of unsavory people might be around.

      Anyhow, I'm doing my part to make the world a better place. What about the rest of you?
    • The reason I support State censorship of all media is the same reason why I support the State in all of its madness: the more they do to harm us, the more the free market will provide means for entrepreneurs to find new ways around the madness.

      And here I thought "free market entrepeneurs" bribing public officials was part of the problem with the government. Silly me.

    • It makes me laugh when the local politicians argue about what they're losing to the web. They stole from me, now I get to take it back.

      Republicans are nothing if not entertaining. But I wonder why they continue to live here. If they hate paying for roads and schools and libraries so much, why not just move to a country that doesn't have those things? Then the taxes they hate so much would be nonexistent.

    • The reason I support State censorship of all media is the same reason why I support the State in all of its madness: the more they do to harm us, the more the free market will provide means for entrepreneurs to find new ways around the madness.

      This kind of economic reasoning strikes me as crypto-religious: the free market is a kind of stand in for a benevolent, loving and personal God who will make everything come out right in the end.

      The problem is that it ignores two important facts:

      (1) "Society" may ben
      • This kind of economic reasoning strikes me as crypto-religious: the free market is a kind of stand in for a benevolent, loving and personal God who will make everything come out right in the end.

        IIRC, Lenin felt the same way. There are stories of him not giving money to beggers, because he saw their poverty as bringing the revolution closer. He took Marx's un-tested hypothesis of what was the inevitable end of capitalism, and used that as his reason for doing (or at least allowing) minor evil now to bring

    • The State: let it grow, let it restrain, let it fail to provide and let the imbeciles that support it think they're doing good for others. I've already found my ways to ignore it in 70% of my life. Eventually I'll extend that more, and not be concerned with what the mad majority wants to do this year that will harm people for generations.

      Unfortunately your position advocates a policy of escalation, where the individual will eventually lose out. Your example of smoking in clubs is the first step on the c
    • You are somewhat right in the notion that you cannot get rid of "the state." Government is almost a necessary evil, which is why most revolutions seek to replace one government with another. This has happened many times; human history is full of violent uprising that result in a change of the status quo, and provide people with a new leadership, which they hope will be more to their liking. Where you lose me is on the notion that you cannot be rid of a state's "coercion", which to you includes censorship
    • That's all well and good for you, but for the rest of us plebians, we don't have much choice. We can order items on the Internet, but that tax loophole is being closed. If I wanted to smoke in a bar or restaurant, I would not be able to, as I cannot afford a $50 meal at a private club. I am restricted to less expensive venues, and being in a community that bans smoking in public establishments (even private clubs), I would not be able to do so.

      There lies the crux of the matter. Government restrictions h
    • ... even though your post implies that it's the thing that will "save us" from the evils of a represive state. Especially when the kind of "opportunities" you're talking about may simply be illegal. I'm not a tax lawyer, but what you're talking about seems to be tax evasion. You also seem to forget that the state generally has a lot more power than market forces. Market forces can be "repressive" in that they can drive a business to bankruptcy. The state, on the other hand, can imprison you and even kill yo
  • Web sites can be blocked if they contain pornography, speeches of hate, contempt, slander or defamation, or if they promote gambling, racism, violence or terrorism.

    My, that's awfully broad.
  • Good for innovation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:29PM (#15732485) Journal
    Maybe this is good:

    Censorship in a technically savvy, non-repressed country, will spur censorship-circumvention technology by leaps and bounds.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:30PM (#15732491) Homepage Journal
    First they came for the political dissidents. I was not a political dissident.

    Then they came for the religous prosthelizers. I was not a religous prosthelizer.

    Then they came for the pornographers. I was not a pornographer.

    Then they came for the bloggers. That day I got religion and began standing up for my right to sell p0rn.
  • not completely new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:30PM (#15732493)
    India has always been a censoring country (although not as much as China). Usually, anything sexually obscene, or anything else considered highly controversial with the general population will be censored/banned (ie, movies such as 'Water').

    However, censoring blog sites is a step down, why would they do this?
    "The list [of censored sites] is confidential and I can't make it public"
    It seems like they are trying to push some sort of hidden agenda.
    • Usually, anything sexually obscene, or anything else considered highly controversial with the general population will be censored/banned (ie, movies such as 'Water').

      Isn't the same thing happening in the USA, with all the fuss surrounding Janet Jackson's nipple? And it wasn't even "sexually obscene"...

      • Isn't the same thing happening in the USA, with all the fuss surrounding Janet Jackson's nipple? And it wasn't even "sexually obscene"...

        No. The difference is that government is not banning nudity from society, only from what is considered public airwaves. It's the same theory that allows banning, say, explicit sex on a billboard, while still allowing sexually explicit DVDs to be sold. Public places are supposed to be "safe zones" that minimally offend the majority of people (of course, that line ebbs a

  • Cencorship sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:31PM (#15732499)
    This is very sad. The reason lies not only with dumb politicians but also dumb implementation of policy. Basically, the Indian govt. had sent a list of 22 blogs/sites that it wanted blocked and the ISP's just blocked the entire domain. I hope this will be corrected soon.
    Not that I condone the blocking of the 22 sites. Opinion, no matter how counter culturalistic, or hard to swallow must be allowed to be expressed.
    The good out of this is that Indian bloggers have filed an application for release the list of the 22 sites blocked. I am very interested to know which sites were officially blocked and why? I have a suspicision that this could have something to do with recent bombings in India. For now, I guess its wait and see.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cisko Kid (987514) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:33PM (#15732520)
    I saw Indiana Jones in that headline. I need more coffee....
  • by lowy (91366) * on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:36PM (#15732558) Homepage
    From TFA:

    "Web sites can be blocked if they contain pornography, speeches of hate, contempt, slander or defamation, or if they promote gambling, racism, violence or terrorism."

    They can't block 95% of the Internet! :-)

  • Web sites can be blocked if they contain pornography, speeches of hate, contempt, slander or defamation, or if they promote gambling, racism, violence or terrorism.

    Wow, what an ambitious task. Perhaps those Indian censors try to make the river Ganges flow up hill while they are at it.
  • It won't last... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymovs Coward (724746) on Monday July 17, 2006 @02:48PM (#15732641)
    India isn't China. Never attribute to malice what is explained by incompetence, especially in India. Some bungling bureaucrat had this bright idea, but the sites will be accessible again in a short while. It's happened before. (In fact, right now I can access them from my home account though not from my work account.)
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:05PM (#15732759) Homepage
    Take that, you idiots who wring your hands about "losing your democracy." Democracy and freedom are not the same thing, and the one does NOT by default lead to the other. In fact, the only major accomplishment of democracy has been to grant legitimacy to the Fascist state. It allows the masses to throw their weight in behind every violation of the rights of the minority.

    What India has proved is that democratic states have no inherent moral authority. It has landed itself in the same mass of political crap that China and Saudi Arabia are in. There is no moral difference between states that censor, even if it is "benign." Either way, a state that practices official censorship of anything except for media that requires violence or fraud to be created, is a regime that directly or indirectly uses the threat of loss of life, liberty or property to silence others. There is no moral difference between a threat of prosecution and simply shooting someone in the head, when the offense is speaking out with an unpopular idea.

    And by the way, has that rubbish about the Internet detecting censorship as damage and routing around been relegated to the trash heap of history where it belongs? It seems that for citizens of China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India and Britain (with its hashed list of "bad sites" as if we even know whether they're all illegal under British law.) that the only routing that is being down is getting in trouble or sent to prison for non-compliance.
    • by radish (98371) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:55PM (#15733182) Homepage
      Either way, a state that practices official censorship of anything except for media that requires violence or fraud to be created, is a regime that directly or indirectly uses the threat of loss of life, liberty or property to silence others.
      I agree, but you left the US off your list of countries. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but you did all the same. There are plenty of examples of banned media in the US which needed neither violence nor fraud to be created. You can read more here [upenn.edu] and here [banned-books.com].
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:22PM (#15733390)

      Democracy and freedom are not the same thing, and the one does NOT by default lead to the other.


      I think you're exactly right, and that's why the founding fathers of the US gave us the bill of rights. They knew that democracy didn't grant freedom and had to be something explicitly addressed as one of our highest laws. They were all specifically designed to protect the rights of the minority over the tyranny of the majority. They also made it hard to take away these rights by creating a difficult (but not impossible) process to amend the constitution.

      Obviously democracy isn't perfect. It took almost 100 years for the US to abolish slavery, and really we still haven't recovered from its effects yet. India is a very different place that the United States. It's still extremely conservative when it comes to sex, and the cast system is directly opposite the egalitarian values of the US. I don't think it should be surprising that they're still trying to control access to new ideas from the western world. In the end it won't matter, especially in a less restrictive country like India. You can't stomp out the rest of the world even NOW, and we're becoming more connected every day. Just think about how different the world is going to be in only 50 years.
    • There is no moral difference between a threat of prosecution and simply shooting someone in the head,
      I can tell the difference, but you can't. That puts you at a certain advantage compared to most others when thinking about these kinds of issues. I suggest you keep out of political discussion until you've learned to see the difference, otherwise you'll only make a fool of yourself.
  • by bayankaran (446245) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:10PM (#15732783) Homepage
    Censorship in India is inconsistent and haphazard to say the least.

    Local and Central governments will ban/reject a book/film on the pretext that it will be dangerous to religious sentiments or social harmony. An example is the James Laine's book - An Epic on Shivaji [hinduonnet.com], books by Salman Rushdie, the Peter Seller's comedy 'The Party', and even the innocuous (though a bit silly) documentaries made by Louis Malle in the late 60's.

    Most of the Anand Patwardhan documentaries [patwardhan.com] were banned/not cleared and his battles with the Indian censor boards show the tolerance level for the overlords are very low. One of the documentaries (if my memory is correct 'Father, Son and Holy War' [imdb.com]) had footage of the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra and later the speaker of Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) - Manohar Joshi [wikipedia.org] - seen extolling Hindu women during a rally in a remote Maharashtrian town to give birth to more children to offset the rise in Muslim population (typical FUD by hardliners). If such utterances can be made at a political rally, I have no idea what banning the documentary will prove.

    The same time, the most vulgar, sexist and reactionary Hindi (Bollywood for you), Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam or other popular cinema pass the censors with absolutely no problem.

    Also the Indian Government is yet to relax its hold on radio and licenses to operate a station [wikipedia.org] - which actually reach the 100% of the Indian population (compared to 10-20% reach of the mostly urban satellite/cable.)
  • by CurtMonash (986884) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:11PM (#15732798) Homepage
    China's obvious censorship goal -- quasi-permanent suppression of the citizens' desire to be able to throw their rulers out of office. (Which is the one big advantage democracies have over other forms of government. Even if you usually replace the bums with guys equally bad, the fact that you can get rid of them certain limits how bad they can get.) This should be fought at almost any cost, both on moral grounds and for enlightened self-interest. And so I'll again shamelessly plus my proposal of how WE -- yes, WE -- can make a difference. http://www.monashreport.com/2006/04/17/how-to-beat -chinese-censorship-operation-peking-duck/ [monashreport.com]

    India's apparent censorship goal -- well, like the anti-Nazi free speech limitations in Europe, India's political censorship seems to be focused on defusing (and diffusing) racial, religious, or ethnic tensions, so that they don't erupt into violence or worse. This censorship is certainly something we should carefully monitor and worry about, but it could yet turn out to be relatively benign. E.g., as another poster suggested, it could be the work of an overzealous bureaucrat, or some incompetent ISPs panicking in the face of a sensibly limited directive and blocking much more than they were told to. Either way, the whole thing might and hopefully will soon be reverse.

    And just to be clear -- I think ALL this censorship is stupid. I just think that some of it is bad enough to be my problem and yours, while some of it is benign enough it should be left to the people of the affected countries themselves to deal with as they see fit.
  • by EqualSlash (690076) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:12PM (#15732807)
    I am guessing that it's most likely related to the recent Terrorist attacks in Mumbai. India's National Security Agencies have been reporting that Terrorists have started using blogs for provocative propaganda that could corrupt the minds of gullible youth. The Indian Government is under huge pressure to extinguish the activities of the terrorist groups that have in recent times started misusing technology for their malicious ends.

    • I am guessing that it's most likely related to the recent Terrorist attacks in Mumbai

      No. You are giving too much credit there. Stupid actions like these are acts of an idiot bureaucrat, who thinks he is doing society a favor by not creating religious tensions. For e.g. 4 states in India banned the recent Da Vinci Code. Well just like in US, you can file a case in the state's supreme court and the supreme court actually chided the state govt for crossing the line. Thus, it is a matter of time before someone

  • Holy cow! (Score:2, Funny)

    by eebra82 (907996)
    This sounds like a job for Zapp Brannigan! Quick, Kif, to the shag mobile!
  • by cyfer2000 (548592) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:21PM (#15732892) Journal
    China and India just opened their border about 10 days ago [boston.com], now India has learnt something from China, they are really quick.
  • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Monday July 17, 2006 @03:34PM (#15733003)
    "Beware he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master"

    - Pravin Lal
  • I think I need a bigger font on my RSS reader...
  • Every ban Govt proposes is in the name of controlling terrorists. There are such unclarified reports this time too. It is very same as denying public water supply in the name of terrorists are used to drink it. This also shows that Govt of India & CERT-IN did'nt learn anything from the past experience of banning yahoo! Groups in the name of militant Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) of the Khasi tribe, started a mailinglist named kynhun. The popularity popularity and visibility went up by l
  • I swore it said "Indiana Jones in China Censoring Websites". I was about to throw up a little in my mouth...
  • by BGA (28170)
    It doesn't matter much how you view this. Nation-wide State enforced censorship (being it what is made in China, in India or even in the US) is something that does not look like very democratic.

    So where do you draw the line? When can we stop calling India the biggest democracy in the world? Should we really do that or this is nothing compared to anywhere else in the world?
  • Ohh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PyrotekNX (548525)
    I thought this was an announcemnt for a new Indiana Jones movie in China.
    But seriously, I think this trend of web censorship is just the beginning. Blood sucking politicians enjoy having control over the prolitariat. Controlling the media, whether its newspapers, magazines, tv, news, etc are all signs of despotism. Isn't that right Rupert.
  • by beaverfever (584714) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @09:44AM (#15736056) Homepage
    Censorship exists everywhere, and I don't think it is accepted more hypocritically than in the west, espesically the US.

    Government censorship is considered to be a symptom of tyranny, yet the public as a whole readily accepts and expects corporate censorship, and has for decades. When it comes to television and radio, "you can't say that" or "you can't see that" have been used for decades [ericnuzum.com] to suppress words, ideas and images, and very few people seem to mind. I don't think that any US television network will deny the existence of network censors.

    1968 "Sponsors go into an uproar and threaten to pull support after a television program shows interracial 'touching.' During the taping of a duet between Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte, Clark lays her hand on Belafonte's arm (Clark is white and Belafonte is black)."

    "After being invited by the Smothers Brothers to perform his anti-Vietnam anthem 'Waist Deep in the Big Muddy' on their TV show, Pete Seeger is edited out of the program by the censors at CBS television."

    1971 "Several radio stations alter the John Lennon song 'Working Class Hero' without the consent of Lennon or his record label."

    1975 "Radio stations across the country refuse to play Loretta Lynn's 'The Pill' because of its references to birth control."

    2001 "Producers of Late Night with David Letterman cancel an appearance by singer Ani DiFranco after she refuses to drop plans to perform the song 'Subdivision.' The song deals with racism and white flight to the suburbs."

    Censorship is all around you. China and India did not invent it.

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