Tech sector powerhouses, including Google and Facebook, are up in arms as Indian officials demand the sites remove “offensive” content.
Several Internet giants cried foul Monday as the world’s third-largest democracy demanded the companies censor their content.
Indian officials requested a group of 21 Internet companies, including Facebook and Google, to remove content they deemed “offensive” and warned of a China-style crackdown if the companies didn’t comply.
The increased pressure from Indian courts comes as two suits were filed against some of the companies, citing that some of their content is offensive to users’ religious sensibilities.
Facebook and Google India have complied thus far, removing content from some of their sites with Indian domains.
In addition to removing the content, the companies were asked to build a mechanism to automatically block any further offensive material.
While the large majority of India’s Internet remains uncensored for its estimated 100 million users, the demands raise concerns among the tech community. The companies argued last month that it was impossible to screen all of its content to root out obscene material.
Oddly, this brings to mind another recent censorship case that was quashed after a single day of web protests (SOPA, anyone?). However, I don’t foresee waves of darkened websites to protest a similar instance of censorship.