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India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) orders ISPs to Block 67 Porn Websites

The order to block the porn websites was issued under 3(2)(b) of the IT Rules, 2021 and have previously been acted on in 2015 and 2018

The Department of Telecommunications has asked internet service providers (ISPs) to block 67 porn websites in two separate orders dated 24th September, 2022. The first order directed blocking of 63 websites was based on a Pune court order and was forwarded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The second order forwarded by MeitY to DoT was based on an Uttarakhand High Court order. “MeitY in compliance of the said (Uttarakhand High Court) order read along with rule 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and in view of certain obscene material available in the below-mentioned website that tarnish the image of modesty of women, has directed to immediately take down (block) the following four (4) websites/URLs,” the second order said. What is rule 3(2)(b) of the IT Rules, 2021? This rule asks intermediaries to perform due diligence while informing users not to "host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share information" in certain cases like when the content is obscene, pornographic, invasive of someone's privacy and  harmful to children. There are many such cases mentioned in the rules. The IT rules allow the government, the power to issue to notifications to prohibit content violating Indian laws. Background: Medianama had reported the 2018 Uttarakhand High Court order which banned  857 porn websites. The courts had said that those ISPs who do not comply with the order will have their licenses terminated. The government had previously banned these 857 websites…

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I cover privacy, surveillance and tech policy. In my reporting, I try my best to present the most relevant facts, and sometimes add in a pinch of my thoughts.

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