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India OKs Censoring Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo 146

An anonymous reader writes "An Indian court given the green light for the prosecution of '21 social networking sites.' The list features 10 foreign-based companies, and could affect websites provided by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and YouTube. The recent development is part of an ongoing argument between the companies and India over whether content should be regulated (read: censored) in the country. The approval was actually made on December 23, 2011, but was only revealed yesterday. India warned these websites it can block them just like China can."
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India OKs Censoring Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:18AM (#38697186)

    It's crazy that slashdot and other people have some notion of western free speech that is universal and ingrained in human nature.

    Why is it so strange that other people in other places might have a different idea than you about censorship?

    Really, if you are not Indian, it doesn't concern you. Stay out of other people's internal affairs.

  • Re:Let them try (Score:5, Interesting)

    by angiasaa ( 758006 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:00AM (#38697494) Homepage

    Nah, that would not work. For one thing, Indians have had free rein over their Facebook, Google and twitter accounts since the very beginning. The citizenry will find it way too hard to make the shift from a global to a local platform.

    Furthermore, we Indians are used to being relatively uncensored at every turn. The moment we "realize" that the government is actively monitoring every tweet and every post, people will start withdrawing from the services offered.

    We have a deep mistrust of our government. It is one thing to force the uneducated into censorship. But those of us who use the internet have at least a basic education, and we don't like the government meddling in any of our affairs. especially if we can't see a justification in it.

    What irks many of us, is the fact that the government spends too little of our tax money in the right places. For instance, the roads are potholed, the water services are unreliable. Energy production has crawled into a hole and died. There is hunger and starvation all over the country. The middle and upper classes are the ones who are most impacted by the Governmental organizations. The Police are unreliable.

    When an accident occurs, we fear reporting it to the cops because we know that if we do, we're the first to be taken in for questioning and the cops overstep their authority at every turn. You see a guy dying on the street, and passers by will stop just to mull around and stare. Everyone will complain that someone should do something, but no one will consider calling the authorities or helping the poor chap to a hospital because the helper becomes the hunted in the eyes of the authorities.

    A friend of mine was put in the slammer for moving the victim of an accident. He was let free four days later because the court decided he was innocent, but he left with bruises and came down with a bad case of diarrhea. The cops actually beat the guy up during their "questioning for facts"! He was just trying to help an injured guy who ended up dying on the way to the hospital.

    We love our country, but we hate deeply, those in power who're trying to run it because they don't appear to care for the public.

    An alternative website, monitored/restricted or not, will hold even less water in such a country. They might be able to forcefully lock social networks out of the country, but they can't get people to use a government-controlled one.

  • by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:09AM (#38697548)

    Only difference is that the Indians aren't clever enough to create terms like SOPA/PIPA such that the common public is blissfully unaware of what's happening.

  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:13AM (#38697572)
    End of the social bubble? Basically that would be the end of the age of open communication we used to be headed for. Thanks do draconian governments and corporations, we seem to be headed towards a new form of 'Dark Ages'.
  • Re:Let them try (Score:4, Interesting)

    by milkasing ( 857326 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @01:41PM (#38698646)
    Freedom of speech in India is far weaker that what most Indians think it is. Prominent people are regularly arrested for exercising free speech, by making speeches, making politically incorrect statements, burning copies of the constitution, writing articles, etc)
    To take a recent example, an opposition leader who played a part in exposing India's largest corruption case, has an arrest warrant out on him because he wrote this article in July Analysis: How to wipe out Islamic terror [] (the article seems to have been removed from the online version of the newspaper itself)
    Censorship does not directly affect most people in India not because of free speech protections (which are very weak), but because the government is not strong enough to impose it on everyone.
    The threat to internet freedom is not from and Indian version of the great wall of china, but from the possibility that, to protect their business opportunities in India, Internet companies will bend over to accommodate the govt of India. If history is any indication, the people in India will protest very loudly for a few days, then get distracted by the latest celebrity scandal . Ultimately they will adjust to one less freedom (the infamous attitude we term as "Chalta Hai") and forget about it.
  • Re:Let them try (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hihihihi ( 940800 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @02:18PM (#38699036)

    ain't it is still amazing somehow democracy still survives... even if on lifesupport.

    not long ago this same govt. tried to suspend constitution [], they tried and somehow common sense prevailed.though now it is many time more subtle but concentrated effort (media + judiciary + political setup) all trying same thing... and i still think still we can survive. not because there is something inherent in setup, but just that our "authoritahs" are weak and nothing survives shit like a weak authority and high diversity makes it impossible to form any monolithic force in india.

    Judiciary (which was the last group to support govt. decision to block the "evilz" recently) is unequipped to do anything other then trying to save their own image (
    Media... the "think of the children" ones (NDTV, Bannet Colman, HindTimes etc.) work accordingly to their political friends, but the problem is masses have stopped listening to them more or less. as far as "world ends on 21Dec" type media is concerned... well they are more concerned on circus then bread.
    Govt... i need not even start..

    in 1975, it was govt vs. media+judiciary. this time it will be more of disgruntled public vs. failing govt.

    in 1975, the govt. was claiming we have just attained freedom from the britain so people are destitue... this time all they can do is play blame game which will not help anyone.

    not sure how correct i am, though sure i hope this "china is the way to go" plan fails.

  • by oiron ( 697563 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @12:47AM (#38703540) Homepage

    The summary is stupid, but that's to be expected, I guess...

    This is not from the government; I'm sure they'd try, but they'd just not be able to get the appropriate legislation passed and implemented. Not because Parliament wouldn't want it, but because they'd probably just end up delaying for another couple of years, bouncing it around committees and then go into election mode. In any case, the government infrastructure for this kind of censorship, especially of the internet, is just not there.

    A few years ago, they tried to block Yahoo groups, on the basis that there were seditious groups on there. That lasted all of 24 hours! The public outcry, combined with the total impossibility of actually enforcing the ban, made them back down. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.

    More to the point, as I said earlier, this is NOT the government. It's an activist judge in the Delhi High Court, which has NO POWERS over the rest of the country. In fact, given that this would violate a large portion of the fundamental rights section of the constitution, I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court would strike it down. With extreme prejudice!

    I doubt that this case will really proceed. Right now, it's one judge making stupid off-the-cuff remarks, not giving a judgement. More to the point, a judgement is not policy, and enforcement is a whole other ball game. It's out of the court's powers, and there's no mechanism in the government for it.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.