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India Lurches Toward Internet Censorship 86

Posted by timothy
from the history-of-the-world dept.
First time accepted submitter ixarux writes "India is at a crucial crossroad at the moment. Internet censorship laws are getting stricter as it begins to ban file-sharing and video-sharing websites. It started with Indian courts allowing censorship of Google, Facebook, etc. It has now gone one step ahead and decided to ask ISPs to block file-sharing sites. It is the movie industry which is again at the forefront of this. Anonymous retaliated, and targeted the websites of various Indian government websites in protest. What India lacks at this crucial juncture are debates in the public domain about this and citizens actually organizing protests as seen in the West."
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India Lurches Toward Internet Censorship

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  • role of Internet Stewardship?

    No thanks.

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Lol , perhaps India will let the U.N.run their business from now on.
      That really is a lot of people to piss off all at once.
      Has India ever had a revolution?
      I for one welcome the entertainment of giving the U.N. enough rope to really fuck up like the bureaucratic clusterwank it is.
      The revolution will be streamed live!

      • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Friday May 18, 2012 @09:07PM (#40048415)

        Has India ever had a revolution?

        Wow. Go read some history [wikipedia.org]. Does the name Mahatma Gandhi ring any bells?

        • by flyneye (84093)

          I always figured that was some religious war where they finally gave the Muslims the back 40 just to go away.
          Never really thought of it as being against the English.
          Jolly good point watching that one "sober" this time. Pip pip.

          • by tqk (413719)

            I always figured that was some religious war where they finally gave the Muslims the back 40 just to go away.

            My recollection is the Indians were bending over backwards to attempt to accomodate the Muslim side, but the latter were having none of it. Perhaps they'd just run out of patience suffering under the British. I can respect that. Perfidious Albion's got a lot to apologize for (they were vicious brutes in so damned many ways). Then you end up with the mess of millions of people moving to "their" new country from wherever they happened to be when the starter pistol went off.

            I also often puzzled over the fa

  • India (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday May 18, 2012 @07:58PM (#40047961)

    What India lacks is indoor plumbing for much of the population. I don't even know where to start with that place, but internet censorship isn't high on the to do list. Don't get me wrong, I love India, some of the most beautiful women in the world, ancient culture etc, but so many of them are living the exact same lifestyles as people did there a thousand years ago.

    This case in particular is a prime example, the sites blocked were only in certain regions and at the behest of a production studio that had a new movie coming out while also owning several ISPs. Corruption that would stagger most of us in the west is everday life in India.

    • Re:India (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:08PM (#40048045) Homepage

      Well, this is a case of trying to block "see how much better the rest of the world looks" after all, if your neighbors next door in S.Korea and Japan have indoor running water and toilets that wash your backside, you might just have riots when the people figure out that the government has been spending money on who knows what instead of infrastructure.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well, this is a case of trying to block "see how much better the rest of the world looks" after all, if your neighbors next door in S.Korea and Japan have indoor running water and toilets that wash your backside, you might just have riots when the people figure out that the government has been spending money on who knows what instead of infrastructure.

        I think you're on the nose.

        To quote an Indian-born programmmer friend of mine (who grew up from age 2 here in an afluent "western" country), after he went bac

        • I went to China and it's like wow.. and here we are in the Indian subcontinent has not gone much further. The internet does expose Indians to all kinds of things that they would not normally be exposed to. Gives them all kinds of ideas. Good for them!
          • by Mashiki (184564)

            I've traveled all over this rock myself, exploring other places is a great experience. For those that can't experience it though the internet does really expose others to other ideas, and that does make it worthwhile.

        • by ixarux (1652631)
          I do not think people in the west understand economies of developing countries. To talk about sanitation, and use that to judge a country is very myopic. There is a massive schism in India between the rich and the poor. India do have poor people, and sanitary conditions are not ok. But it also have some of the richest business houses around, like the Tatas and Reliance. Like all countries, it takes time for it to find its feet. All countries go through this. For a country which is as massive as India, and w
          • by kermidge (2221646)

            A bagatelle, but India gained independence the year I was born, which I reckon makes it and me 65.

            Anyway, I suspect that "democracy" has as many meanings as those states claiming that's what they are.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            I do not think people in the west understand economies of developing countries.

            Canada was a developing country 200 years ago, back when this stuff was shiny and new or not even developed, and changing so fast your eyes would pop. Usually in under 30 year time spans, the entire country was hooked into it, or it was easily available.

            What it requires is vision and the desire to deploy it. As for India being massive? Meh, tiny when compared to Canada or Russia. What India has is population, meaning an easy and available workforce. Something is fundamentally broken within the state.

          • by zlives (2009072)

            so an indian company can own a britsh company (cause they have the money) while failing to provide for its people (cause they don;t have the money)

            yes yes its not this simple a situation, however, it does make you wonder about what the priorities are.

        • by oiron (697563)

          To quote an Indian-born programmmer friend of mine (who grew up from age 2 here in an afluent "western" country), after he went back there recently for a visit, "a lot of people still shit in the ditch there".

          That kind of said it all to me.

          Yes, but it's not like people aren't aware that this isn't the best thing to do.

          The problem is that infrastructure development takes time and effort and vision. What we've got is a bunch of do-gooders and money-grubbing politicians. And a few people like Sreedharan who are really trying to do the right thing!

          In the meantime, there's no reason we can't work towards both sanitation and Internet freedom, don't you? One of the advantages of a huge population is that we can split the work-load to different group

    • Re:India (Score:4, Interesting)

      by perryizgr8 (1370173) on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:44PM (#40048267)

      this. people here simply don't care about concepts such as internet censorship. most are just managing to survive.

    • What India needs is a robust justice system that can quickly make fair decisions. That is the root cause of everything. You cannot have justice without money and that is the main issue. You can punish corruption without a fair justice system. If we can fix that, in about a generation or so things will be a lot better.
    • Re:India (Score:4, Informative)

      by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday May 18, 2012 @09:56PM (#40048687) Homepage
      This might come as a surprise to you, but not all Indians live that way. And those of us who're not piss poor care deeply about a censor free Internet.
  • by MadMaverick9 (1470565) on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:00PM (#40047979)

    and how is this different from internet censorship in belgium, the uk and the netherlands?

    https://depiratenpartij.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/brein-wins-democracy-loses/ [wordpress.com]

  • Rich Corporations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:00PM (#40047985)

    If the movie companies have enough money to bribe the number of governments that they seem to, people are not illegally downloading nearly enough movies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the west should take note: this is how it begins

    First there's censorship under the guise of child porn. Then copyright, then national security, then whatever they want.

  • They're only blocking the more popular sites. You can still use Tor to access the blocked sites. And don't forget that if the ISPs throttle torrent file transfers, you can always point out that perfectly legitimate torrents such as Linux ISOs are being blocked. That's how I got Airtel to remove torrent throttling from my connection.
    • by Quillem (2641391)
      I'm sure that watching videos on Vimeo via Tor is a pleasant experience for you :S
    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      You got them to remove throttling from just your connection, or from all connections (either in the country or your service area)?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So to keep all the Indian spammers away, all I need to do is make sure my website is offensive to India?

  • Blogger now has .in domain at the highest level, so it makes it convenient for google to implement india specific restrictions. Common indians don't care much about the internet, it is only companies with huge warchets that have to fight this battle, in the hope of getting a much wider userbase at a future time. But given that the american law is being de-facto exported across the world, all victories will be short-lived. YMMV...
  • by ixarux (1652631) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @01:11AM (#40049503)
    People in the developed world, in line with their general ignorance of developing countries, seem to not be aware of some important facts. India is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest Facebook market by number of users as early as 2015. [thenextweb.com] 7% of India has internet access, and given India's population, even 7% of its population amounts to more people than many Western European countries. Internet censorship is therefore a big deal and it will affect the lives of millions. Like all developing countries, India grapples with poverty. But on the other end, the rich and middle-class in India are at levels of Western society, in terms of both awareness and with a very major stake in the internet.
  • by Quillem (2641391) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @02:17AM (#40049751) Homepage

    The Indian courts have not explicitly blocked file sharing sites. All they have provided is a generic order [google.com] to stop the copyright infringement. The company Copyright Labs [facebook.com] which is looking to stop the piracy of its films, maintain that they provided the ISPs with a list of specific URLs that were to be blocked. The ISPs have apparently decided (40 days after the blocks were requested) to block entire domains rather than individual URLs. One of these parties is liable for damages for the blanket blocks.

    The courts haven't necessarily done anything wrong here besides being ingenuous.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @06:42AM (#40050413) Homepage Journal

    Free internet poses risks. Risks are an opportunity for regulators to expand their fiefdom. The risk-averse public sector, if left unchecked (by unbalanced budgets) will take over the free economy like a bad antibiotic-immune staph infection, or auto-immune disease.

    I deal internationally with many nations, and have repeatedly tried, but have never been able to do anything successfully in India. Despite low linguistic barriers, savvy businesspeople, educated populace, and an adorably intelligent PM (Singh), there is just an impossible number of bureaucrats to obtain approval from. I attribute it to a tipping-scale of public-sector employees set up by Indira Gandhi. Once you create a certain ratio of regulator jobs to the private sector jobs, it's very difficult to reverse it.

    By 2nd analogy, regulators are like basketball referees, you need a few. but too many make it impossible to navigate the basketball court.

    Public sector regulators do not get rewarded when things go right in the private sector (what did they have to do with it but stay out of the way?) but are punished for allowing it if something went wrong. It's by nature risk averse, and prone to setting limits on everything. It's easier for a public sector manager to hire a new person than to undertake the unpleasant and near-impossible task of laying off an unproductive person. To get new hires, you need a risk or danger (or type of foul) to protect the public from. At some point the public has such a stake in public sector job security (family with salaries from referee jobs) that it's nearly impossible to reverse, and the economy - the basketball game - slows and stagnates. Africa has the same problem.

    Eventually, (my theory goes) incompetence sets in and almost appears to heal the public sector employment imbalance. The public bureaucracy becomes so crowded that nothing gets done, and the regulators start to feel anonymous and disenfranchised by the command-and-control network. China's Communist Party had so much corruption in the 1980s that the regulations were completely randomized, and the economy grew by accepted practice of ignoring entrenched regulators. The refs in China were blowing whistles that everyone ignored, basketball players passed and circled around them, or paid the regulator to sit off the court. Unfortunately, like (analogy 3) Lyme disease, the idled refs never really go away. Indira created lots of public sector employment. Hiring public employees is like feeding a (#4) dragon that gets bigger with every bite, and even if it's a nice dragon now, you will still be in the cage with it tomorrow.

  • > Anonymous retaliated, and targeted the websites of various Indian government websites.

    Shouldn't they have attacked film websites?

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