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Verizon Says India Asked It To Block Access To Websites

verizonVerizon Communications has reported, as a part of its first transparency report, that the Indian government had asked the company to block websites in India, but the law in India (pertaining to telecom operators, perhaps), prevents Verizon from disclosing the number of websites it was asked to block. “in India we are precluded by law from discussing any information about the requests we might receive from the Government of India or identifying the specific number of websites that we were asked to block by the Government of India,” the company has said, adding that the last year, there was “an intense focus around the world on government demands to obtain customer data”.  The company is limited from disclosing the number of disclosing information in Australia as well, but it isn’t as bad as in India. “In Australia we are precluded by law from reporting the number of warrants we received from law enforcement for interceptions or stored communications.” While Verizon doesn’t have a telecom business in India, it does have an offshoring center in Hyderabad. In that context, it’s surprising that the Indian government asked it to block access to websites in India.

India doesn’t have a privacy law. Note that once India’s central monitoring system (CMS) is operational, the Indian government won’t have to ask telecom operators for access to user information or to block access: as Minister of State for Telecom Milind Deora had told us during a Google Hangout, the CMS gives direct access to the government, and allows it to bypass telecom operators:

Requests From The US


Verizon received 321,545 requests for customer subscription information, phone numbers, or content like text messages and emails in 2013, although it doesn’t include is information on most national security orders issued by the NSA or other intelligence agencies.

Transparency Reports:

Google Transparency Report (last updated December 2013)
Facebook Transparency Report (last updated August 2013)
Twitter Transparency Report (last updated August 2013)
Microsoft Transparency Report (last updated September 2013)
Yahoo Transparency Report (last updated September 2013)

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