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Indian Minister Seeks To Censor User-Generated Content Online 82

First time accepted submitter punit_r writes "Indian minister for Communications & Information Technology Kapil Sibal met officials from Facebook, Google, YouTube and Yahoo on Monday, 5 December 2011, and told them to screen what goes on the sites. He basically asked the websites to actively screen content. How do you screen such massive amount of data? Well, the IT minister has the perfect recipe: 'We'll use humans to screen content and not technology,' said the IT minister. Meanwhile, he got it back from the social media."
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Indian Minister Seeks To Censor User-Generated Content Online

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  • by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @09:53AM (#38278936)

    Just deduct the costs for that bullshit from the his ministry's budget.

  • Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

    by thisnamestoolong ( 1584383 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @09:54AM (#38278954)
    So this guy is so rich that he can afford to finance a whole industry of millions of workers to monitor the web? Well, that should solve a lot of economic problems in India! Maybe he could outsource some of those jobs over here!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seen any spam ads on Slashdot moderated into oblivion?

    The various trolls and first posts done the same way?

    We're already doing it here!

    • by Stalks ( 802193 ) *
      The difference is that we have seen them. India want to obliterate them into non existence.
  • Of-course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:05AM (#38279072) Homepage Journal

    Of-course he wants to stop people from speaking. That's what all people in power want - to make sure that the masses never speak.

    That's why individual liberties must be the primary concern of all people and that's why the principles upon which governments get established must put individual liberties ahead of all other concerns.

  • Corruption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:05AM (#38279074) Journal

    If you hire all those humans to check the content, just think of all those minds that will be corrupted from the content they are supposed to sift through.

    • by AdamJS ( 2466928 )

      I'd imagine that would be one of the sweetest jobs of all time.
      Literally, a Porn Hunter.

      • Re:Corruption (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:22AM (#38279232) Journal
        I'm told that its a job that actually burns you out, curb-stomps your soul, and then just keeps going until you eventually crack and quit.

        Censorship is a pure cost center, and(once you get down to the level of pressing the "wicked"/"Not Wicked" buttons in response to an image series) pretty low skill, so there is absolutely no incentive to refrain from pushing you as hard and fast as they can and treating you with all the tender loving care usually reserved for retail peons.

        Plus, and I can't stress this enough, You don't get to look at the porn you want, you get to look at the porn the internet wants.
        • by AdamJS ( 2466928 )

          You seem to imply that there aren't people capable of browsing 'classic /b/' style sites for 12 hours a day.
          I'm sure India has their fair share of NEETs that would jump at a job like this, even if it's just kludging through blogspot or whatever.

    • I imagine rather than being corrupted, those minds would just become numb to formerly outrageous content. Last time I went through the TSA's full body scanners, I looked at the woman watching the results. There was no hint of any of the usual emotions humans experience when seeing other (semi) naked humans--no excitement, shame, or embarrassment. There was just a blank look. Not even an "ugh, I have to do this all day?" look. At best there was a little buried resentment.

      I remember feeling sorry for her. Whe

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You, on the other hand, seem to have become numb to the formerly outrageous violation of being routinely bodyscanned while traveling.

      • by lee1 ( 219161 )

        Last time I went through the TSA's full body scanners, I looked at the woman watching the results.

        With your x-ray vision? I thought the people viewing the images from the pornoscanners were supposed to be in a different room.

        • She was standing not far from the machine, looking at some screen I couldn't see. My memory of the surroundings is hazy.
          • by lee1 ( 219161 )
            How do you know that the screen she was looking at had anything to do with the scanner? Couldn't she have been looking at Facebook?
            • There was no input device that I can recall, so Facebook should be out. I suppose it's possible she was looking at something else like the output of an x-ray machine, though those people stand right behind it, and she was definitely not behind an x-ray machine.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Dear Sir,

      Please find attached my application for this position.

      Yours faithfully,
      Winston Smith.

  • by chortick ( 979856 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:08AM (#38279108)
    He could call it the State Telecommunications And Security Initiative? I'll have to check now, I'm worried that STASI might be already taken...
  • by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:09AM (#38279118)
    He's just trying to boost the Indian economy by creating a new sector of tech support people thus supporting the bubble and burgeoning middle class in India. The migration of millions of tech support and call center jobs has created a middle class in a formerly 2 tiered country. Now that they are starting to lose those jobs due to rising wages, he's looking to expand it is all. Oh, and you got to keep the people ignorant too.
    • believe me, he is not.

      he (and whoever has been in his post for last century) just want to screen out the content the government feels uncomfortable with - you know like all other megalomaniacs in history of human civilization. But people are rising ( and he just want to act fast before its too late.

      and as for economy, if [] is to be believed, "The total

  • Lack of tolerance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benignbala ( 1157427 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:14AM (#38279154) Homepage
    The whole problem is because of lack of a tolerance to criticism. The actual reason is most probably someone wrote something really harsh about the policies adopted by his political party. And that is something the he couldn't take in his stride. Anyone who wants to have a public life, should also be ready to face the criticism. Curbing freedom and there by the criticism of the very people who elected you is something very cheap. And in addition to that, he had probably assumed that a large user base from India implied control of the industry. Imagine using humans to track each of those millions of posts on G+, FB, Twitter combined together. Absolutely foolish. If anything, he is tarnishing the image of the country. Hailing from India, what I sense is, he is anticipating a huge wave of protests from the people vis-a-vis the Jan Lokpal bill(a bill to fight corruption). His party is proposing a version which not really liked by a a lot of people. That bill is likely to be tabled sometime soon. And to get away from such criticism, he is going all out.
    • "The actual reason is most probably someone wrote something really harsh about the policies adopted by his political party."

      Pretty much, yeah:

      About six weeks ago, Mr. Sibal called legal representatives from the top Internet service providers and Facebook into his New Delhi office, said one of the executives who was briefed on the meeting.

      At the meeting, Mr. Sibal showed attendees a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party’s president, Sonia Gandhi. “This is unacceptable,” he told attendees, the executive said, and he asked them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites.

      From the NYT blog. []

  • by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:14AM (#38279158) Homepage
    I know - we'll get half of the population to do the screening for each user request, and the other half to actually view it immediately afterwards. The lag shouldn't be too bad - only half a minute per HTML page view.

    They can take it in turns, so that half of the population screens one week, and then following week, they're the viewers, and the other half screens.

    And the icing on the cake: it will create more work, which results in more jobs too!
    • solution is to play a 30 second ad while the desi 'filterer' checks the content. if the content appears after the 30 second ad, you know its 'safe' to view.

      I know, I should not give them ideas, huh?

  • Wait (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AdamJS ( 2466928 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:40AM (#38279428)

    I understand how he can ask, say, Facebook to remove disparaging content and screen for it. Stupid and a fundamentally massive and retarded task, to be sure.

    But how in gods name did they think that ISPs have the ability to delete content on other and foreign sites?
    India's It leaders literally do not understand the internet.

  • I've got it! Instead of paying a large number of people to censor the internet, just let people create links to the good stuff and ignore the bad stuff - soon the whole world will be acting as your censors and only the good stuff will be easy to find!

    Now to let Minister Sibal know that I will implement this system for only 1.5 million USD.

  • That's what you get when you make a lawyer the "Minister for Communications & Information Technology".

    To his credit, he was also the guy who released the $35 Android tablet, but I doubt he had anything to do with it directly.
  • There's someone who is firmly rooted in the Class system in India, and is probably to old and outdated to even understand what "Social Media" is, never mind what it implies. The world is changing at an exponential rate, and old-think like this has had it's days numbered and spray painted in neon on the virtual wall. Just pray that this tidal wave doesn't end up killing like that tsunami a few years back..
  • On average an Indian movie is poorly censored . They dont care for movie industry .. I wonder why they are behind youtube/FB/Google........ may be to get some money under table.
  • by lee1 ( 219161 ) <> on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @11:30AM (#38280098) Homepage
    YouTube [i.e., Google] is already [] providing some of the censorship this guy is asking for. Perhaps not for him yet, but certainly for the Chinese and Pakistani governments and various Muslim groups. And not just for overseas consumption: much of this censorship applies to content served in the U.S.
  • Sounds to me like he has some humans that are just perfect for the job. I'd like to see the companies to tell him to take a flying leap and let the consumers decide what they want to read and ignore what they find offensive.

  • That's not a bad idea. If we are able to censor tv and films,then web cannot be an exception
  • Unemployment: Solved.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @12:27PM (#38280914)

    The last time Indian citizens protested against the Govt for Jan Lokpal (an anti-corruption bill) the protesters made use of sms, twitter & facebook.
    A month after the protest the Govt passed a bill restricting the number of SMS that can be sent by a person to 100 SMS'es per day.
    This looks like the next step.
    No one expects fb or twitter to filter all user generated content... But it will certainly give the party in power an excuse to block these sites when the time comes.

  • by phreakv6 ( 760152 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {6vkaerhp}> on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @01:17PM (#38281792) Homepage

    Using 'think of the children' and 'hurting religious sentiments' as reasons for censoring is getting out of hand all over the world.

    this guy is a known clown. all he wants to achieve out of this is to censor all anti-congress sentiments on the indian internets which has been on an incredible rise this year. he is getting what he deserves. look at #kapilsibal and #idiotkapilsibal

    the ire is epic. the biggest democracy on the planet prides its free speech. snubbing that is going to take some doing.

  • Very sad to see that the world's largest democracy could in fact be the 'largest censored democracy'.
    • by nashv ( 1479253 )

      Actually, although Kapil Sibal is democratically elected, this seems to be his own idea. I am Indian, and currently visiting Mumbai. The amount of backlash he is getting from the Indian public is astonishing. Nearly all media is heavily criticising him for this move.

      This is not a popularly supported move. And it will go away. Nothing to see , move along.

  • Indian Minister Seeks To Censor User-Generated Content Online


    • Orders National Oceanographic Institute to make water not wet
    • Calls on PETA to create system for herding cats
    • Instructs engineers to figure out how to nail jelly to trees
    • Insists General Electric begin installing air conditioning equipment in hell
    • Demands that the History Channel stop adding sound-effects to slient films

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.