Internet freedom in India
#1
Google has put up a website where it shows how many censorship requests they get from various governments in the world.

I was surprised to see that India was third in the list. Here is the break up of the requests:

Quote:142 removal requests

* 77.5% of removal requests fully or partially complied with.

* 2 Blogger
* 1 Book Search (court order)
* 2 Geo (except Street View)
* 119 orkut
* 1 SMS Channels
* 2 Web Search
* 15 YouTube

Most of them are from Orkut which seems to be heavily policed. But the surprising things for me are the blocking of Blogger (blogs), and search terms.

This is the start of a slippery slope. Already, in the traditional media, views which "hurt" sentiments of some groups are policed violently either by the government or by mobs. Now the Internet, the last hope of freedom of speech, too is under attack.
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#2
(21-Apr-2010, 08:58 PM)Lije Wrote: Google has put up a website where it shows how many censorship requests they get from various governments in the world.

I was surprised to see that India was third in the list. Here is the break up of the requests:

Quote:142 removal requests

* 77.5% of removal requests fully or partially complied with.

* 2 Blogger
* 1 Book Search (court order)
* 2 Geo (except Street View)
* 119 orkut
* 1 SMS Channels
* 2 Web Search
* 15 YouTube

Most of them are from Orkut which seems to be heavily policed. But the surprising things for me are the blocking of Blogger (blogs), and search terms.

This is the start of a slippery slope. Already, in the traditional media, views which "hurt" sentiments of some groups are policed violently either by the government or by mobs. Now the Internet, the last hope of freedom of speech, too is under attack.

I bet most of the Orkut censorship is of the I hate India.. Anti India Pakistani groups.. I used to see quite a lot of them some time back.. if you remove such groups, I dont think we would be very high in that list
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#3
(21-Apr-2010, 11:49 PM)dsriharsha Wrote: I bet most of the Orkut censorship is of the I hate India.. Anti India Pakistani groups.. I used to see quite a lot of them some time back.. if you remove such groups, I dont think we would be very high in that list

But it is not just anti-India messages which get taken down. A while back somebody got arrested for hating Sonia Gandhi on Orkut. That kind of stuff is what scares me. What if somebody in power decides that atheism is vulgar? For me, freedom of speech is allowing all view points even if they are extremely distasteful. I draw the line only when there is a possibility of it causing physical harm.
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#4
Quote:But it is not just anti-India messages which get taken down. A while back somebody got arrested for hating Sonia Gandhi on Orkut. That kind of stuff is what scares me. What if somebody in power decides that atheism is vulgar? For me, freedom of speech is allowing all view points even if they are extremely distasteful. I draw the line only when there is a possibility of it causing physical harm.

I agree with Lije. This is a very dangerous trend we are seeing in India. Actually, things have gotten worse in recent years. The religious groups are finding more and more restrictive ways of curtailing free-speech when it comes to criticism of religious ideas.

They can arrest you under many pretexts. The law is also a bit murky also when it comes to the issue of blasphemy. These are going to be big issues going forward. We desperately need lawyers on our side.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
[quote='Ajita Kamal' pid='341' dateline='1272185729']
[quote]
They can arrest you under many pretexts. The law is also a bit murky also when it comes to the issue of blasphemy. These are going to be big issues going forward. We desperately need lawyers on our side.
[/quote]

You're right. The laws in India are indeed the worst in the world. It's only in India, that the accused under law is Guilty until Proven Innocent.
Speaking of lawyers, frankly I don't agree!
I'm part of another NGO where we've ample experience with lawyers and have learnt one hard fact, that may not be digested easily.
The fact is: The only people who know the least laws are the Police, Lawyers and Judges. I know this might sound rubbish to many, but unfortunately this is true in India... I've myself seen the level of legal knowledge of many old (experienced) lawyers and High-court sitting and retd. judges.
So trust me, it's no use looking for any lawyers. Best is to study the relevant laws yourself, as & when reqd.
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#6
One things strikes me in the data is the absence of China. I'm not sure how this data is formulated. Second, guys we have to keep things in perspective. Let's understand that security is a major issue given the current circumstances. So, speculating about democratic freedom without having full access to what Indian government sought from Google is just not right. And regarding it's position in the list of countries, I would rather look at the percentage of users to the requests than number of requests.
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#7
(30-Apr-2010, 11:23 AM)uglyhunk Wrote: One things strikes me in the data is the absence of China.

If you click on the question mark on China, it says this:

Chinese officials consider censorship demands as state secrets, so we cannot disclose that information at this time.

That is quite expected as China is the gold standard of Internet censorship.

Quote:Second, guys we have to keep things in perspective. Let's understand that security is a major issue given the current circumstances. So, speculating about democratic freedom without having full access to what Indian government sought from Google is just not right.

That's true. But we still need to be vigilant of what the government does. Internet access still isn't widespread in India and our government may choose to emulate China without the fear of a large backlash.
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#8
Lije, I can assure you that India is zillion years behind China in terms of curbing individual freedom. Comparison with China just does not make sense. In fact I hate the fact that media houses in India are abusing their freedom of press. I'm sure most with disagree with me, but I'm for curbing freedom of press in India.
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#9
Like most socio-political issues, the idea of a free press is context dependent. There are many things that we can say the press must be free to do, and many things that we can say it must not. I am not for establishing absolute rules, especially when it comes to specific moral questions. However, I think the courts must have a more clearly stated agenda. This is not possible until the law is changed to a more utilitarian standard.

We can start at either extreme and work our way to the middle, figuring out where we can agree.

I dislike comparisons to China on human rights issues, just as I dislike comparisons to Pakistan on religious violence issues. If we're going to compare ourselves to these countries we might as well give up on the whole fucking thing.

But that's not to say that this conversation is not needed. I've been having a blast reading your posts.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#10
haha...Ajita, I don't know what is the consensus on using sacred words in this forum...but my vote is for using them. It is so much fun reading :-)
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#11
(02-May-2010, 09:17 PM)uglyhunk Wrote: haha...Ajita, I don't know what is the consensus on using sacred words in this forum...but my vote is for using them. It is so much fun reading :-)

Raj, we've discussed this on two threads in this forum: http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Is-Richard-Da...s-Arrogant
and
http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Profanity-Wha...r-thoughts

The first thread is actually concerned with another topic, but some of the later posts get into the heart of the issue. The second thread is more on-point, but refers to some ideas discussed on the first one.

Essentially, it comes down to this. As long as we're not using the words to make personal attacks, they are fine. But this gets a bit complicated. What do you think?

Although this conversation is digressing a bit from the original idea, I think its still relevant to the topic of internet freedom in India. However, to stay on point, let's continue the profanity debate on the appropriate thread going forward. It will make it easier when we have to refer back.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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