India court threatens Google, Facebook

2012-01-13 14:21

New Delhi - An Indian court has threatened to block sites such as Facebook and Google unless they take steps to eliminate "offensive and objectionable" content.

"You must have a stringent check. Otherwise, like in China, we may pass orders banning all such websites," the Delhi High Court said during a hearing on Thursday with legal representatives for Facebook and Google India.

Both companies should "develop a mechanism to keep a check and remove offensive and objectionable material from their web pages", Justice Suresh Kait was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

Communications Minister Kapil Sibal in December pledged a crackdown on "unacceptable" online content, saying internet service providers had ignored India's demands to screen images and data before they are uploaded.

He provided examples of faked naked pictures of Indian political leaders and religiously sensitive images.

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

"No human interference is possible and, moreover, it can't be feasible to check such incidents," Mukul Rohatgi, a lawyer for Google India, told the High Court hearing.

India, the world's largest democracy, has more than 110 million internet users out of a population of 1.2 billion, with predictions that 600 million people will be online in the next five years.

Facebook and Google had moved the High Court to stay a summons issued last month by a lower court that is hearing a private criminal complaint against them.

Facebook is officially blocked in China, while Google pulled its search engine out of the country two years ago after a confrontation with Chinese authorities over censorship.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-13 14:53

    In reality neither Facebook or Google has the right to censor what is effectively social groups. Irrespective of political opinion from those in power, no one has the right to censor personal opinion unless opinion is directly attempting to incite violence or spread hate speech. Just another example of world governments trying to crack down on the rights of the man on the street in what appears to be a global movement to relegate the average man to slave status.

      Heiku - 2012-01-13 15:02

      They have the right censor anything they want on their website. You agree to that when creating an account.

  • Bubba - 2012-01-13 14:56

    India, this isn't cricket. no one cares what you threaten.

      robbie.crouch - 2012-01-13 15:04


      Deon - 2012-01-13 15:40

      They should not be underestimated as they have a huge middle class but not such a good cricket team anymore.

      Teri - 2012-01-13 16:50

      Grow a vagina 'cause u aint got any balls!

  • louis.kirstein1 - 2012-01-13 15:27


  • wesleywt - 2012-01-13 15:36

    People who don't understand the internet are so cute....aaaawwwww

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-01-13 17:17

    People are not forced to read every single posting and can censor offensive posters out of their view!

  • Satish - 2012-01-14 06:08

    I asked the Indian Army to arrest the top one thousand or so officers of RAW. It has not done so. But India's nuclear forces obey Satish Chandra. He does not need India's conventional forces or the rest of the government and citizenry to defend India which requires the destruction of RAW which will be done by nuclear means, that is, the simultaneous nuclear destruction of New Delhi, Washington and New York, with a warning that additional U. S. cities will be destroyed, with nuclear warheads already emplaced in them by special forces, if there is any retaliation. // I am India's expert in strategic defence, father of India's strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and the world's greatest scientist ( biography in Marquis' Who's Who in the World, 2012 and earlier editions). See 'What You Should Know About RAW' in my blog titled 'Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.' which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title. // Satish Chandra

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