India wanted 358 items removed

NEW DELHI, December 8, 2011
PRISCILLA JEBARAJ

India is one of only four countries which, during the first half of 2011, requested Google to remove content on the basis that it was critical of the government. Google refused to comply. The other countries were Thailand and Turkey — where Google restricted local users from accessing the offending content — and the United States, where it refused.

According to Google’s Transparency Report for January to June 2011, the Internet search giant received requests from the Indian government – which seems to include State and Central governments, police and courts – to remove 358 items. In a breakdown of reasons for such requests, 255 items were classified under the “government criticism” category. It is not clear if Google would classify offensive items about a political leader under the category of defamation or government criticism.

Interestingly, the biggest chunk of this is accounted for by a single “request from a local law enforcement agency to remove 236 communities and profiles from [social networking site] orkut that were critical of a local politician.” Google did not identify this politician, but it did state that “we did not comply with this request, since the content did not violate our Community Standards or local law.”

Google’s statistics gain significance in the light of its alleged refusal to comply with the Indian government’s recent demand to block the publication of incendiary hate speech from its sites. On Monday, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal summoned executives of Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft for a meeting after they stonewalled repeated requests to block incendiary communal material being posted on social networking sites they operated.

However, Google’s Transparency Report data seems to indicate that only 8 items were requested to be removed under the category of hate speech.

Instead, 39 items were requested to be removed on grounds of defamation, 20 due to privacy and security concerns, 14 due to impersonation, three identified as pornographic items, and one request due to national security reasons.
However, the single largest category is government criticism; apart from the 236 items on orkut, the government also asked for 19 items on You Tube to be removed on these grounds.

Overall, Google says it complied fully or partially with 51 per cent of the requests. “We received requests from state and local law enforcement agencies to remove YouTube videos that displayed protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders,” said the Google report. “We declined the majority of these requests and only locally restricted videos that appeared to violate local laws prohibiting speech that could incite enmity between communities.”

Last year, between July and December 2010, Google says it “received requests from different law enforcement agencies to remove a blog and YouTube videos that were critical of Chief Ministers and senior officials of different states.” It did not comply with those requests…

Courtesy: The Hindu

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5 Responses to “India wanted 358 items removed”

  1. suman 11 December 2011 at 11:13 AM #

    konta chapbe r konta chhapbe sei power google r youtuber hatei chhara uchit.india govt chirokal i bandor.

  2. A k Bairagi 11 December 2011 at 11:40 AM #

    আমি সুমনের সঙ্গে একমত। তবে আমি এটাও মনে করি, কোন আইন করে বন্ধ করা নয়। কেবল কোথাও কোন দুর্নীতি হচ্ছে কিনা তার উপর নজরদারি চালানো দরকার। তারও আগে দরকার সরকারি স্তরে দুর্নীতি বন্ধ করা।

  3. Chitradip Som 11 December 2011 at 10:06 PM #

    Though Mr. Sibbal has said this to save his party’s, better to say, Her Highness Mrs. Gandhi’s reputation, but I think, censorship to some extent is must needed. Any freedom can’t be uncensored, unrestricted, unreigned and unbridled in a civilized society. Can anyone say, what’s the difference between a slum dweller and a well educated man? Yes, they are the language used by them, their body gesture, that make the difference. A slum dweller can easily utter such words in open daylight, that a civilised person think twice before saying that even among close friends. How would it be, if the porn movie makers also demand for their ‘freedom’ and protest against censorship saying it is interfering in their ‘democratic right’ or ‘freedom of art’? Then would we also support them? According to our consitution also, the state can impose ‘resonable censorship’ on unwarranted comments or publications, if it needs so. So what is the legitimacy of such idiotic debate? (At the same time, to avoid unnecessary controvery by any young Turk of SRAI, I also stress on the issue that I’m not advocating for 100% censorship power of state like that of China or N. Korea, or neither I want to go back to emergency period imposed by another Mrs. Gandhi). I think I could explain my viewpoint.

  4. Anindyasundar 13 December 2011 at 10:05 AM #

    @Chitradip Som, for your information, blue film is illegal and central govt is not worried about that. Central govt is talking about contents, which are not illegal. That’s why govt has not filed case to any courte.

  5. Madhusudan Mahato 15 December 2011 at 3:39 PM #

    Mr Kapil, age durniti o santrase lagam tanun.


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