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Facebook, Google Argue Against Web Censorship In India 160

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-it's-unpossible-sir dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook and Google told the Delhi High Court today they cannot block offensive content that appears on their services. The two Internet giants are among 21 companies that have been asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material in India, and the Indian government has given the green light for their prosecution. Although India is democratic (in fact, it's the world's largest democracy), many fear the country will resort to censorship."
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Facebook, Google Argue Against Web Censorship In India

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  • by kheldan (1460303) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:30AM (#38721580) Journal
    We here in the U.S. know that our politicians aren't in the least bit technologically savvy (yes, I'm painting with a broad brush when I say that). Should I be surprised or comforted to know that politicians in any number of countries are also, apparently, luddites? India doesn't seem to understand that what they're asking to do isn't technologically feasible. It would require a gigantic staff of people round-the-clock, judging each and every post and video before they're allowed to be seen by the general public. I understand that India doesn't have much of an issue with having enough workers when your population is one billion, but the cost to implement censorship on such a level? Astronomical. Seriously, if India is really that worried about "offensive" content, then maybe it's time for Google, Facebook, and whoever else they have an issue with, to just pull out and leave India to it's own devices. Or, maybe, the Indian government can get a grip and realize that their citizens aren't all little children needing a Big Brother to protect them from the entire world. The world is too small for nations to be so xenophobic, unless they want to wall themselves in like China and North Korea (and I'm sure there are other examples).
  • by kheldan (1460303) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:32AM (#38721584) Journal
    No. People are entitled to their opinions, however ignorant they might be. Ignoring their opinions, on the other hand, is perfectly OK. ;-)
  • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:34AM (#38721596)
    What really makes me wonder what they are thinking is when they suggest blocking of 'offensive' content, as though that's not a subjective term.
  • by mc6809e (214243) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:38AM (#38721614)

    Why does anyone still believe that democracy means freedom?

  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:44AM (#38721642) Homepage

    No surprise. Politicians are not people that have a passion for creativity (from art to innovation). They are people that have a passion for manipulating and controlling others (and school board members are wanna-be-politicians that failed at manipulating and controlling adults).

    The problem with pulling out of India is that, eventually, the issue will be resolved. By then, other companies will have taken over in place of Google, Facebook, etc. There is a distinct possibility this action is being done by the government for the purpose of allowing some unknown government "patron" (e.g. bribery) to be given this opportunity to move in on Google and Facebook (not that I would mind that).

    These kinds of attacks (not specifically this exact kind) by many government around the world seem to be happening for one reason or another. Maybe they just resent the fact that the internet was not created by them?

    BTW, you forgot Myanmar in that list.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @01:49AM (#38721652) Journal

    I believe in freedom of speech. If some individual wants to stand up in public and say that he supports depriving every citizen of free speech and due process of law to help save the profitability of a 90 year old mouse cartoon - then I will defend his right to do that.

    For an elected representative to not only do that - but to sponsor or support a bill which does that also - that's a different thing. That's a failure of citizenship, a neglect of your civic duty. These are essential liberties our nation was founded to protect. Such a representative should be removed from office as swiftly as the democratic process will allow, as he's a threat to the security of the Republic and the liberty of its People.

    There is no Mulligan on this one, no middle ground. Either you are FOR freedom of speech and due process of law forever and always, or you're NOT.

  • by Rennt (582550) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:10AM (#38721744)

    The world is too small for nations to be so xenophobic, unless they want to wall themselves in like China and North Korea (and I'm sure there are other examples).

    Like the United States of America?

    Okay, okay, that was rather trollish. But ALL government seeks increased control, it's just the nature of the beast. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are safe. "Land of the Free" rings pretty hollow these days.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:14AM (#38721760)
    I don't like this new system where money means speech. People with more money have more to say.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:27AM (#38721830) Journal

    We here in the U.S. know that our politicians aren't in the least bit technologically savvy (yes, I'm painting with a broad brush when I say that)....

    That is an excuse.

    If you are a politician it's your job to be familiar with issues that face your constituents. Not familiar with technology, get learning.

    If I can't use the ignorance as an excuse to get out of trouble when I break a law, then the politicians damn well better get familiar with the issues they are voting on, if not, that is a big failure on their part and even a bigger failure on the people voting for that person.

     

  • Control of content (Score:3, Insightful)

    by singlevalley (1368965) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:33AM (#38721858)
    It is a sensitive time in indian politics, the new generation (kids) of the current politicians are all set to make their splash into active politics. And if there is free press, then their family scams will start haunting them as well. so, in order to neutralize this, the current government wants to muzzle the free press and internet. Follow the fate of the public lokpal bill to understand what i mean. Of course, that is just my opinion, and i could be wrong.
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:37AM (#38721876) Homepage

    It makes no sense to throw in the line about India being the "world's largest democracy".

    All that that means is that India holds elections, and that it has a lot of people.

    It doesn't mean that (as in other 3rd world democracies):
    -India has a guarantee of freedom of speech like in the US
    -India has constitutional protections for "life, liberty, and property"
    -You can refuse to testify against yourself (an important protection against torture)
    -The government doesn't censor (plenty of stories on RIM, etc., on Slashdot re: that)

    The word you're looking for is "liberal democracy", i.e., a democracy in which an emphasis is placed on liberty.

  • USA didn't create Facebook, a bunch of people living in the USA created Facebook.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @02:44AM (#38721910)
    Censorship is what a government does. The people shutting the evil mouths of those in government is not censorship
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @03:16AM (#38722032)

    THEY are hypocrites who want to profit from the systematic enslavement of you and if you aren't willing to tar and feather the !%$!@#!'ers out of town, you aren't American.

    No, but you may be Indian, which is what this is about.

    It's not always about America!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @03:19AM (#38722044)

    Mod parent up. Democracy does not ensure liberty. It just ensures that people can vote. Liberal democracies on the other hand are built on a strong constitution that protects the liberty of the citizens in conjunction with independent courts. And I am sorry to say that most liberal democracies are being eroded to just being democracies.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @04:04AM (#38722194)

    Immigrants such as myself came to US because their home countries were destroyed or went through massive political disasters (often provoked or exacerbated by US).

    That sure sounds a lot like the Roman Empire... didn't they also have a lot of people in Rome from other parts of their empire, and not necessarily because they really loved Rome?

  • Re:democratic eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oiron (697563) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @04:17AM (#38722260) Homepage

    hardly get beaten or raped at all, much, compared to fifty years ago?

    Yes, actually... Things are improving, though there's a long way to go. It's a flawed process, but the point is, it's happening

    At least we didn't continue with the practice for a good 90 years after independence, fight a civil war over it and then spend the next 100 years not actually granting civil rights to those who were supposedly "freed" by the civil war...

  • I'm all for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Leo Sasquatch (977162) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @04:49AM (#38722380)
    Just as soon as we get a cast-iron definition of 'obscene' or even 'offensive' that applies to everything correctly for everyone.

    It's okay, I'll wait...

    Because, of course, language is never going to modify itself to route round censorship. No-one has ever invented entire new sub-tongues like polari, or thieves' cant to discuss dangerous or illegal subjects in plain sight without detection.

    I wish these idiots nothing but the best with their endless game of Whac-a-Mole (TM).

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