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Mumbai Police blocks over 650 social media posts featuring Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Mumbai Police has blocked over 650 posts and pages "on a popular social networking site" for allegedly uploading the controversial cartoons featured in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, reports The Hindustan Times. Mumbai police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni told the publication that they are blocking every controversial post that "they come across". What's particularly worrying though is that Kulkarni says they are in "constant touch with the authorities managing the servers of a popular USA-based networking site to immediately block such controversial posts and provide us with IP address of the account holders". It's currently not clear as to which site is Kulkarni referring, but it does raise serious privacy concerns for users in the country. Citing sources, the report also says that Mumbai Police's social media lab was directed to search through various handles and posts to find those putting up these controversial cartoons, following the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this week. Censoring the web This development comes at a time when blocking websites without providing a reason has become the norm rather than an exception and there's been a significant increase in the government actions to censor the web. Police departments are also issuing warnings or even arresting users over sharing or even “liking” objectionable content on the Internet. In June last year, we witnessed two incidents of arrest: an MBA student was arrested for allegedly sending an “offensive message” on Facebook-owned WhatsApp while another person in Mumbai was arrested for posting on the Goa+ Facebook Group, that if elected to power, Modi would unleash a ‘holocaust’. (Also read: On 66A, “Palghar was not an abuse of power. The law itself…

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