Court summons Google, Facebook

2011-12-23 21:04

New Delhi - An Indian magistrates court has issued a summons to 21 internet sites, including Facebook, Google and Yahoo! to answer charges of circulating "obscene, lascivious content", a report said on Friday.

The summons comes amid a push by the Indian government to force major internet players into filtering out "unacceptable" content, including faked naked pictures of political leaders, and religiously sensitive images.

Acting on a private suit, New Delhi metropolitan magistrate Sudesh Kumar said internet companies were clearly circulating "obscene, lascivious content which... tends to deprave and corrupt", The Press Trust of India reported.

"There are certain degrading and obscene photographs of various political leaders belonging to different political parties and photographs pasted and the language used is also obscene, filthy and degrading," Kumar said.

Earlier this month, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal pledged a crackdown on "unacceptable" online content, saying companies such as Google, Yahoo! and Facebook had ignored India's demands to screen images and data before they are uploaded.

His comments provoked anger and derision among Indian internet users, with experts arguing that such demands could not be enforced and smacked of state censorship.

Sibal rejected any suggestion of an assault on free speech, saying the government had pleaded for self-regulation by companies such as Google to filter out deeply "insulting" material.

He highlighted examples of faked pictures of naked politicians, including Congress Party head Sonia Gandhi.

India has in the past moved to block the publication of books and other material seen as disrespectful to Gandhi, or other members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has dominated India's political life since independence.

  • Adiel BabyDove Dove - 2011-12-23 21:25

    *mus not laugh*

  • Mike - 2011-12-23 21:37

    hahahaa how sad that a government still want to decide what's good for their people. Get out of the Dinosaur years, India! And you sit with 1.3bilj people that cant think for themselves. It's a very bad reflection on you.

  • Bob - 2011-12-23 22:17

    P a t h e t i c...! These people are not in touch with reality! How exactly do they expect Facebook, Google or Yahoo to sift through and filter billions of submissions!

  • - 2011-12-23 23:56

    This is pure and utter B...S...!!! They found 21 Internet sites?? I bet there are more than 21 000 internet sites that may contain material thats offensive to India's government ONLY! Let alone the rest of the world. Plus, how will Yahoo and Google sift through this? They are not websites that only upload their own content, they are SEARCH ENGINES! And to think, some of the most technologically advanced IT boffins are from India, yet their government comes up with this kind of hogwash.

  • indianajohn - 2011-12-24 02:37

    Like blaming the road for a bad driver.

  • Hermann - 2011-12-24 07:40

    The creation of another nanny state.

  • Stirer - 2011-12-24 08:12

    I note that they stopped short of issuing summons to the telecoms providers which deliver the material, the the PC manufacturers and makers of tablets and screens which displays the obscene filth; and why not the government too, for issuing licenses to enable them to provide the services in the first place.

  • Nico - 2011-12-24 09:36

    Does this mean if someone should perpetrate fraud, for example, by telephone, that the telephone company could be held liable for carrying the message? Or, if the head of a politically famous person is photoshopped onto someone else's naked body, that Adobe could be held liable? This is insane.

  • Leendert - 2011-12-24 14:01

    Oh come on people maybe if Google, Yahoo, Facebook where brought to accountability once in a while we wouldn't have to sift through the huge amounts of crap that is available on the internet. Also face it all these companies clock up billions because they have the freedom to do as they please, nope I'm very pro internet censorship. Not saying censor freedom of speech but when the only speech is to cut and paste a dirty picture of a political party leader or a religious figure then Hell Yeah censor it. If that political leader is caught with his pants down Hell Yeah post it, maybe if we all took a stand against crap being posted and making the owners who are reaping in the mega bucks for this crap pay to have it removed then Yes hold Google, Yahoo and Facebook and others accountable, maybe then when I type in a search request such as "famous politician with pants around ankles" I'll get the genuine article and not 40 odd thousand rubbish links burying what I really want to find. So yeah good luck India I'm rooting for you maybe you'll be the responsible "adult" country that gets billionaires to clean up the internet.

  • Cheryl - 2011-12-24 16:38

    Its about time,..... it doesnt take much searching on google to prove that a large percentage of the public are very very sick and cannot be trusted to police themselves......PAEDOPHILIA, INCEST,CHILD SEX, GROUP SEX, TORTURE,SICK GAY STUFF,RAPE, DISRESPECT OF THE DEAD, ETC ETC ... are all there for everyone to 'enjoy'. sick sick sick.... and YOUR husband and children are 'enjoying' looking at this too. POISONED MINDS.

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