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When It Comes To The Internet, The Indian Government Needs A Reality Check

Well, judging by what's happened over the past year or so, offline too, but this is just getting more and more bizarre. The New York Times' India Ink blog reports that the Indian government has asked ISPs and sites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to "prescreen" user generated content from India - that is monitor and moderate content before it goes online. The report names no one, but cites unnamed sources, adding that Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal is expected to meet officials from ISPs and Internet companies. Apparently, Sibal found a comment on Facebook maligning Congress Party President 'unacceptable', and told ISPs and Facebook to have human beings screen comments. A unit is also being set up to monitor information on websites, reporting to Gulshan Rai, the head of CERT-in. A few things, assuming that this news is true: - Is Sibal unaware of his ministry's IT Rules? However flawed these rules are, they still provide intermediaries with safe harbor. That means that content can be published on these platforms if certain terms and conditions are specified, and needs to be taken down in case there is a complaint. What this report suggests is that the Indian Government plans to have two different set of rules for the same thing. Which is bizarre. - It is impossible for anyone to prescreen user generated comments, and the cost of human screening would probably put these sites out of business. It's like asking telecom operators to screen billions of SMS'. Filters…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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