As many as 6,096 websites or URLs were blocked by the Indian government in 2021, according to a response filed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) during the ongoing budget session in the Lok Sabha. The question was posed by Lok Sabha Members of Parliament (MP) Kotha Prabhakar Reddy, Manne Srinivas Reddy, and Manickam Tagore B. The response revealed that the total number of blocked URLs since 2015 stood at 20,14,471. MeitY did not specify why these URLs had been blocked by the ministry. A quick glance at the table reveals that the number of URLs has gone down significantly (over 50 percent) from 2020 which saw a 270 percent increase from 2019. The numbers are helpful in understanding the actual extent of censorship carried out at the behest of the State. Why does the government block URLs? The government explained that it was issuing these orders under section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. It laid down the following as reasons owing to which it can block URLs: Information impacting sovereignty and integrity of India Defence of India Security of the State Friendly relations with foreign states Public order Preventing incitement Indian government is not happy with Big Tech A recent meeting with officials from several big tech companies revealed that the Indian government is not happy with the international criticism over its content takedown orders. The government has been engaged in “heated discussions” with Google, Twitter, and Facebook for not acting on fake news on their…
Government blocking of URLs falls by 50 percent in 2021 with 6,096 instances, MeitY reveals
Section 69A orders to block web pages have continued to climb since 2015, until the shift reported this year.
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