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Internet censorship in India

Internet censorship in India is selectively practiced by both federal and state governments. DNS filtering and educating service
users in better usage is an active strategy and government policy to regulate and block access to Internet content on a large scale.
Also measures for removing content at the request of content creators through court orders have become more common in recent
years. Initiating a mass surveillance government project like Golden Shield Project is also an alternative discussed over the years by
government bodies.

Contents
1 Overview
1.1 OpenNet Initiative report
1.2 Reporters Without Borders "countries under surveillance"
1.3 Freedom House report
2 Background
3 Instances of censorship
3.1 Dawn website (1999)
3.2 Yahoo Groups (2003)
3.3 Websites blocked (2006)
3.4 Orkut and Indian law enforcement agreement (2007)
3.5 2011
3.5.1 New IT rules adopted
3.5.2 Websites banned
3.5.3 Pre-screening of Internet content
3.5.4 Ban on Cartoons Against Corruption
3.6 2012
3.6.1 Delhi court summons
3.6.2 Websites blocked
3.6.3 Reliance DNS servers compromised
3.6.4 Annulment motion in Parliament against 2011 IT rules
3.6.5 Save Your Voice campaign
3.6.6 Madras High Court: Entire websites cannot be blocked
3.6.7 Domain hosting sites
3.6.8 Censorship following Assam violence
3.6.9 Telecom Minister's website defaced
3.6.10 BSNL website defaced
3.7 2013
3.7.1 39 websites blocked
3.8 2014
3.8.1 File sharing and file hosting sites banned
3.8.2 Whistle blower Savukku's site blocked by Judge C T Selvam
3.8.3 Ban of porn sites
3.9 32 blocked websites
3.10 Since 2015
4 Blocked websites
5 Usage of Internet kill switch
5.1 Jammu and Kashmir
5.2 Gujarat
5.3 Nagaland 2015
5.4 Nagaland 2017
5.5 Manipur 2015
5.6 Manipur 2016
6 See also
7 References

Overview

OpenNet Initiative report


The OpenNet Initiative classified India as engaged in "selective" Internet filtering in the political, conflict/security, social, and
Internet tools areas in 2011.[1][2] ONI describes India as:

A stable democracy with a strong tradition of press freedom, that nevertheless continues its regime of Internet filtering.
However, India's selective censorship of blogs and other content, often under the guise of security, has also been met with
significant opposition.

Indian ISPs continue to selectively filter Web sites identified by authorities. However, government attempts at filtering
have not been entirely effective because blocked content has quickly migrated to other Web sites and users have found
ways to circumvent filtering. The government has also been criticised for a poor understanding of the technical feasibility
of censorship and for haphazardly choosing which W
eb sites to block.

Reporters Without Borders "countries under surveillance"


[3] stating that:
In March 2012, Reporters Without Borders added India to its list of "countries under surveillance",

Since the Mumbai bombings of 2008, the Indian authorities have stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on
technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship. The national security policy of the world's
biggest democracy is undermining freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users' personal data.

Freedom House report


Freedom House's Freedom on the Net 2016 report gives India a Freedom on the Net status of "Partly Free" with a rating of 41 (scale
from 0 to 100, lower is better). Its Obstacles to Access was rated 12 (0-25 scale), Limits on Content was rated 9 (0-35 scale) and
Violations of User Rights was rated 20 (0-40 scale).[4] India was ranked 29th out of the 65 countries included in the report.
[5]

The Freedom on the Net 2012report, says:[6]

India's overall Internet Freedom Status is "Partly Free", unchanged from 2009.
India has a score of 39 on a scale from 0 (most free) to 100 (least free), which places India 20 out of the 47 countries
worldwide that were included in the 2012 report. India ranked 14 out of 37 countries in the 2011 report.
India ranks third out of the eleven countries in Asia included in the 2012 report.
Prior to 2008, censorship of Internet content by the Indian government was relatively rare and sporadic.
Following the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 171 people, the Indian Parliament passed
amendments to the Information Technology Act (ITA) that expanded the government's censorship and monitoring
capabilities.
While there is no sustained government policy or strategy to block access to Internet content on a large scale,
measures for removing certain content from the web, sometimes for fear they could incite violence, have become
more common.
Pressure on private companies to remove information that is perceived to endanger public order or national security
has increased since late 2009, with the implementation of the amended IT A. Companies are required to have
designated employees to receive government blocking requests, and assigns up to seven years' imprisonment
private service providersincluding ISPs, search engines, and cybercafesthat do not comply with the
government's blocking requests.
Internet users have sporadically faced prosecution for online postings, and private companies hosting the content
are obliged by law to hand over user information to the authorities.
In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that bloggers and moderators can face libel suits and even criminal prosecution for
comments posted on their websites.
Prior judicial approval for communications interception is not required and both central and state governments have
the power to issue directives on interception, monitoring, and decryption. All licensed ISPs are obliged by law to sign
an agreement that allows Indian government authorities to access user data.

Background
In June 2000, the Indian Parliament created the Information Technology (IT) Act to provide a legal framework to regulate Internet
use and commerce, including digital signatures, security, and hacking.[1] The act criminalises the publishing of obscene information
electronically and grants police powers to search any premises without a warrant and arrest individuals in violation of the act. A 2008
amendment to the IT Act reinforced the government's power to block Internet sites and content and criminalised sending messages
deemed inflammatory or offensive.[7]

Internet filtering can also be mandated through licensing requirements. For example, ISPs seeking licences to provide Internet
services with the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) "shall block Internet sites and/or individual subscribers, as identified
and directed by the Telecom Authority from time to time" in the interests of "national security".[8] Licence agreements also require
[9]
ISPs to prevent the transmission of obscene or otherwise objectionable material.

In 2001, the Bombay High Court appointed a committee to oversee issues relating to online pornography and Cybercrime.[10] The
Court invited the petitioners, Jayesh Thakkar and Sunil Thacker, to make recommendations on cyber laws. The committee published
a report which analyses the key issues and made recommendations regarding areas such as the licensing of cyber cafs, putative
identity cards for cyber cafe visitors, that minors use computers in public spaces, and the maintenance of IP logs by cyber cafes. The
Committee also recommended thatinternet service providerskeep correct time logs and records.

The report also addressed the protection of children from adult websites and advised internet service providers to provide parental
control software for every Internet connection. The committee also identified lack of technical knowledge in the police as a problem.
The report was well received by the courts, and its recommendations are being implemented the police and cyber cafs. The Cyber
Crime Investigation Cellwas set up pursuant to a recommendation made by the committee.

In 2003, the Government of India established the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) to ensure Internet
security.[11] Its stated mission is "to enhance the security of India's Communications and Information Infrastructure through proactive
action and effective collaboration".[12] CERT-IN is the agency that accepts and reviews requests to block access to specific websites.
All licensed Indian ISPs must comply with CERT-IN decisions. There is no review or appeals process. Many institutions, including
the Ministry of Home Affairs, courts, the intelligence services, the police and the National Human Rights Commission, may call on it
for specialist expertise. By stretching the prohibition against publishing obscene content to include the filtering of Web sites, CERT-
IN was empowered to review complaints and act as the sole authority for issuing blocking instructions to the Department of
Telecommunications (DOT). Many have argued that giving CERT-IN this power through executive order violates constitutional
[1]
jurisprudence holding that specific legislation must be passed before the government can encroach on individual rights.

"I am mystified by our government's approach both to the internet and to the millions of Indians using it. It does not adhere to the
values of our republic and democracy. This matter needs to be addressed urgently, for which I propose to file a PIL in the Supreme
, Member of Parliament.[13]
Court. Don't kill the freedom of speech, change the IT Rules", says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Instances of censorship
Dawn website (1999)
Immediately after the Kargil War in 1999, the website of the Pakistani daily newspaper Dawn was blocked from access within India
by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, a government-owned telecommunications company which at the time had monopoly control of
the international internet gateways in India.[14][15] Rediff, a media news website, claimed that the ban was instigated by the Indian
[16]
government, and then published detailed instructions as to how one could bypass the filter and view the site.

Yahoo Groups (2003)


In September 2003, Kynhun, a Yahoo group linked to the "Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council" (an illegal, minor separatist
group from Meghalaya), which discussed the case of the Khasi tribe was banned.[17] The Department of Telecommunications asked
[18]
Indian ISPs to block the group, but difficulties led to all Yahoo! groups being banned for approximately two weeks.

Websites blocked (2006)


In July 2006, the Indian government ordered the blocking of 17 websites, including some hosted on the Geocities, Blogspot and
Typepad domains. Initial implementation difficulties led to these domains being blocked entirely.[19][20][21] Access to sites on these
[22]
domains other than those specifically banned was restored by most ISPs after about a week.

Orkut and Indian law enforcement agreement (2007)


In 2007, Indian law enforcement entered an agreement with the then popular social networking site Orkut to track down what it
deems defamatory content which, in their example, includes content critical ofBal Thackeray.[23]

2011

New IT rules adopted


The "IT Rules 2011" were adopted in April 2011 as a supplement to the 2000 Information Technology Act (ITA). The new rules
require Internet companies to remove within 36 hours of being notified by the authorities any content that is deemed objectionable,
particularly if its nature is "defamatory," "hateful", "harmful to minors", or "infringes copyright". Cybercaf owners are required to
photograph their customers, follow instructions on how their cafs should be set up so that all computer screens are in plain sight,
, and forward this data to the government each month.[3]
keep copies of client IDs and their browsing histories for one year

Websites banned
In March 2011, the Government banned several websites, Typepad, Mobango, Clickatell, and Facebook for some time without
warning.[24]

On 21 July 2011, all file hosting websites were blocked by ISPs to prevent copyright infringement of the filmSingham, causing anger
amongst Internet users.[25] This ban was later lifted.

On 24 December 2011, Reliance Communications, a widely used ISP, again blocked access to file-sharing sites, having obtained a
John Doe order from a Delhi court to help protect the movie Don 2 several days before its release. The block was lifted on 30
December 2011.[26][27]

Pre-screening of Internet content


On 5 December 2011, The New York Times India Ink reported that the Indian government had asked several social media sites and
internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo!, to "prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging,
inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online".[28] Top officials from the Indian units of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and
Facebook had several meetings with Kapil Sibal, India's acting telecommunications minister to discuss the issue in recent months,
India Ink reported. In one meeting, Sibal asked these companies "to use human beings to screen content, not technology", the article
said.

On 6 December 2011, communications minister of IndiaKapil Sibal held a press conference confirming the India Ink story. "We have
to take care of the sensibilities of our people," Mr. Sibal told more than 100 reporters during a press conference on the lawn at his
[29][30]
home in New Delhi. "Cultural ethos is very important to us."

On 7 December 2011, The Times of India revealed that the search engine Google was asked to remove around 358 items by the
Government of India out of which 255 items were said to criticise the government as per a Google transparency report. The
government had asked Google to remove 236 items from Orkut and 19 items from YouTube for the same reason, it added. Other
reasons include defamation (39 requests), privacy and security (20 requests), impersonation (14 requests), hate speech (8 requests),
pornography (3 requests) and national security (1 request). Google admitted that 51 per cent of the total requests were partially or
fully complied with.[31] The news of banning and blocking objectionable content on the internet was seen negatively by many Indian
[32] It was seen as a way to block
netizens and #IdiotKapilSibal trended on Twitter after netizens expressed the outrage over the move.
websites criticising the government. In an interview to NDTV, Kapil Sibal responded by saying that most of the content being asked
to be removed was pornographic in nature and involved deities, which could have caused communal disharmony.[33] While Kapil
Sibal claimed that the government wanted to remove pornographic content, Google transparency report published by Google claims
that the content that included protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders were not
removed.[34] Google on its transparency report states[35]

We received requests from state and local law enforcement agencies to remove YouTube videos that displayed protests
against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders. We declined the majority of these
requests and only locally restricted videos that appeared to violate local laws prohibiting speech that could incite enmity
between communities. In addition, we received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove 236
communities and profiles from orkut that were critical of a local politician. We did not comply with this request, since the
content did not violate our Community Standards or local law
.

Google on this matter has also said that[36]

When content is legal and does not violate our policies, we will not remove it just because it is controversial, as we
believe that people's differing views, so long as they are legal, should be respected and protected.

While presently there are talks going on between the government and officials of internet companies like Google and Facebook, there
is no consensus on this issue.[37]

Ban on Cartoons Against Corruption


In 2011, a nationwide anti corruption movement India Against Corruption gathered pace in the leadership of a veteran Gandhian
Anna Hazare demanding Jan Lokpal Bill. Political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi joined the crusade and started a cartoon based campaign,
Cartoons Against Corruption to support the movement with his art. He launched a website www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com
consisting of his sharp anti-corruption cartoons targeting corrupt system and the politicos. He displayed his cartoons in the MMRDA
ground, Mumbai during the hunger strike ofAnna Hazare.[38][39]

Aseem Trivedi was exhibiting his political cartoons from Cartoons Against Corruption in the anti-corruption protest at the MMRDA
grounds, when his website was suspended by Crime Branch, Mumbai. It was only 27 December, the first day of the protest, when he
received an email from BigRock, the domain name registrar with which his website was registered, saying, "We have received a
complaint from Crime Branch, Mumbai against domain name 'cartoonsagainstcorruption.com'for displaying objectionable pictures
[40]
and texts related to flag and emblem of India. Hence we have suspended the domain name and its associated services."
The site was suspended after a complaint to the Mumbai Crime Branch by a Mumbai-based advocate and congress leader, R.P.
Pandey. The complaint stated that "defamatory and derogatory cartoons" were displayed as posters during Mr. Hazare's hunger strike
in Mumbai. Noting that the posters were created by Aseem Trivedi and "are believed to be made at the instance of Shri Anna
[41]
Hazare", the complaint requested "strict legal action in the matter".

[42]
Following his website's ban, Aseem Trivedi uploaded all the cartoons to a blog he quickly created.

2012

Delhi court summons


In January 2012, a Delhi court issued summonses to Google and Facebook
headquarters for objectionable content.[43] This was followed by the Delhi High
Court saying that websites such as Google and Facebook were liable for the content,
posted on their platform by users, as they benefited from the content.[44] Google
responded to both the Court and theMinister for Communication and ITKapil Sibal,
stating that it was impossible to pre-screen content.[45] A plea was made by an
educationist citing any sanctions against the online services will directly affect the
Screenshot of a blocked site
fundamental right and will be against public interest.[46] The Delhi Court also
allowed Yahoo's case to be heard separately after it appealed citing it did not host
.[47]
any objectionable content and does not fall under the social networking site category

Websites blocked
Starting 3 May 2012, a number of websites including Vimeo, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and other torrent sites were allegedly blocked
by Reliance Communications, on orders from Department of eTlecom without any stated reasons or prior warnings.[48][49]

Reliance DNS servers compromised


In May 2012, Anonymous India (AnonOpsIndia), a branch of the hacktivist group Anonymous, hacked the servers of Reliance
Communications to protest the blocking of Vimeo, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and other torrent sites. The ISP Reliance
Communications stated that it simply followed a court order.[50][51] The group also hacked Reliance DNS servers preventing direct
access to Twitter, Facebook and many other websites in India on 26 May 2012 for allegedly blocking its Twitter handle
@OpIndia_Revenge.[52] They went on to warn the Government to restore all the blocked websites till 9 June 2012, and has planned a
nationwide protests on the same date.[53][54] After this hack, Anonymous also released a list of websites that had been blocked by
Reliance without any orders from the government, raising questions of private and unaccountable censorship by telecom
providers.[55]

Annulment motion in Parliament against 2011 IT rules


An annulment motion against the Information Technology (Inter-mediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 moved by Member of Parliament
(MP) P. Rajeev of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the Rajya Sabha, was the first serious attempt by internet freedom
activists to get the Information Technology Act, 2000 discussed and reviewed by the country's lawmakers. Not unexpectedly, the
motion (specifically against the rules governing intermediaries clause (zg) of subsection (2) of Section 87 read with subsection (2)
of Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000) was not carried. However, the discussion that preceded it at least demonstrated the concerns of
[56][57]
parliamentarians about what internet freedom activists have termed the "draconian" provisions of the IT Act.

Save Your Voice campaign


Save Your Voice is a movement against Internet censorship in India.[58] It was founded by cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and journalist
Alok Dixit in January 2012. The movement opposes the Information Technology Act of India and demands democratic rules for the
echnology Act, 2000.[59]
governance of Internet. The campaign is targeted at the draconian rules framed under the Information T

Madras High Court: Entire websites cannot be blocked


On 15 June 2012, the Madras High Court has passed an order saying that entire
websites cannot be blocked on the basis of "John Doe" orders. The High Court order
reads:

The order of interim injunction dated 25 April 2012 is hereby clarified


that the interim injunction is granted only in respect of a particular URL
where the infringing movie is kept and not in respect of the entire Bayimg.com blocked by orders of
website. Further, the applicant is directed to inform about the particulars Department of Telecom on BSNL
[60]
of URL where the interim movie is kept within 48 hours. broadband network in India as of 13
September 2012

The High court provided this clarification after being approached by a consortium of
[61][62]
Internet Service Providers. The order has been welcomed by the Indian media and net users.

Domain hosting sites


Starting in July 2012 several domain hosting sites were banned. When opening these sites, a message saying that these sites have
been blocked by the Department of Telecommunications or court order is displayed.[63][64] Sites such as Buydomains.com,
Fabulous.com, and Sedo.co.uk were blocked.

Censorship following Assam violence


Between 18 and 21 August 2012 the Government of India ordered more than 300 specific URLs blocked. The blocked articles,
accounts, groups, and videos were said to contain inflammatory content with fictitious details relating to Assam violence and
supposedly promoting the North East exodus. These specific URLs include the domains of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BlogSpot,
WordPress, Google Plus, Wikipedia, Times of India, and other websites.[65] Many of the blocked URLs are Indian right wing
activism against corruption.[66][67] This raised questions about freedom of speech in the largest democracy in the world. It also raised
questions about the censorship of people and posts debunking rumors.[68] The Economic Times called it levels of censorship "that
have not so far been seen in India".[69] Over four days from 18 August, the Government of India issued directives to Internet Service
Providers to block Twitter accounts of two Delhi-based journalists Kanchan Gupta and Shiv Aroor and Pravin Togadia. The
government also blocked the website of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and several other right-wing websites.[69] In addition,
articles from Wikipedia, and news reports of violence in Assam on the websites of The Times of India, Firstpost, The Daily Telegraph
and Al-jazeera were blocked.[69] A petition was created to oppose Internet censorship in India by the Indian diaspora in the US.
[70]

Telecom Minister's website defaced


In November 2012, Anonymous India defaced Indian Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal's constituency website in protest against an
s posted online.[71][72]
amendment to the Information Technology Act and the recent crackdown on netizens for comment

BSNL website defaced


Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited's (BSNL) website, www.bsnl.co.in, was hacked by Anonymous India on 13 December 2012. They
defaced the website with a picture stating that they protest against section 66A of the IT Act and in support of cartoonist Aseem
[73][74]
Trivedi and Alok Dixit. The duo have gone on a hunger striker to protest against Section 66A.
2013

39 websites blocked
In an order dated 13 June 2013, the Department of Telecom (DoT) directed Indian Internet service providers (ISPs) to block 39
websites. The order did not specify a reason or law under which the websites were blocked. Most are web forums, where Internet
users share images and URLs to pornographic files. However, some of the websites are also image and file hosts, mostly used to store
and share files that are not pornographic. While watching or distributing child pornography is illegal in India, watching adult
pornography is not. The blocked websites are hosted outside India and claim to operate under the U.S. rule that requires performers to
be over 18 years of age.[75]

2014

File sharing and file hosting sites banned


In an order dated 23 June 2014, the Delhi High Court upon a request made by Sony Entertainment ordered 472 file sharing and file
hosting websites blocked, including The Pirate Bay, Google Docs, Google Videos, and Googles URL shorterner (goo.gl). This is
contrary to the 2012 Madras High Court orders which blocked only URLs referencing web pages with illegal content, rather than
entire websites.[76] However, it was reported on 7 July 2014 that an updated court order blocks just 219 sites. Included are many file
storage and torrent websites, but no Google sites.[77]

Whistle blower Savukku's site blocked by Judge C T Selvam


In an interim order on the petition filed by news reader Mahalaxmi, Justice Cyril Selvam blocked the entire website
www.savukku.net. This order on 28 Feb 2014 directly contradicts an earlier order by Madras High Court on 15 Apr 2012 against
banning entire website instead of specific URLs.[78]

Earlier in Feb, savukku.net had exposed the tapes of conversations between DMK MP Kanimozhi and former Additional Director
General of Police (ADGP) Jaffer Sait, Jaffer Sait and Kalaignar TV's former director Sharad Kumar, and DMK President M
fer Sait.[79]
Karunanidhi's Secretary K.Shanmuganathan and Jaf

Judge C T Selvam is considered to be close to Karunanidhi's family


.

Justice CT Selvam became judge of the Madras High Court when Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
during 20062011. Just a couple of hours before taking oath as judge Justice Selvam called on Karunanidhi and got his
blessings and this was revealed through a govt press release with photograph by the Tamil Nadu government's
Information Department.[79]

Ban of porn sites


The Indian government banned access to sites hosting pornography in November 2014.[80][81] The ban was later lifted within a week
due to heavy public pressure.

Kamlesh Vaswani, the lawyer behind the ban in his petition said: Watching porn itself puts the countrys security in danger,
encourages violent acts, unacceptable behaviour in society, exploitation of children and lowers the dignity of women and he believes
watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women. To say Indian women watch porn is an insult to
their dignity, watching porn also promotes sexual violence against women and children, he said. He states Pornography creates
.[82]
stereotypes representation of women and becomes the basis behind unequal treatment (sic) of women in society
Chetan Bhagat, an investment banker turned novelist, described the porn ban as "anti-freedom," "impractical" and "not enforceable."
He satirically suggested that India next ban olive oil (as being too Western), comedic television, and pizza (due to not being Indian
cuisine). "Anyone who has an opinion different from yours must be banned," Bhagat said on Twitter. "After all, you are always
right."[83]

32 blocked websites
The DOT ordered blocking of 32 websites including archive.org, github, dailymotion, vimeo as they could host terror content relating
to ISIS but the sites are no longer blocked as of 1 January 2015 as the order had been reversed and the unblocking process has begun
on compliant websites.[84]

Since 2015
.[85] This list was given to government
On 1 August 2015, 857 pornographic sites became inaccessible via various ISPs across country
officials by petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani on 17 October 2014. The original list was generated by a company which makes
pornography-blocking software and contained many popular pornography sites.[86] The block was ordered by the government
Department of Telecom on 31 July 2015. A copy of the order is available through media websites.[87][88] The blocking of
pornography sites comes on the heels of the center vowing to block all such sites on 8 July
.

On 3 August 2015, a spokesman of the Department of Telecommunication said in a statement that Internet service providers (ISPs)
have been asked by the Modi Government of India to block 857 websites, on the basis of restricting access to pornographic
content.[89][90][91] The ban was later lifted by DoT on the basis that excessive blocking disrupts the regular usage of internet services,
after wide protests by Indians online, but the blocks were re-instituted without comment starting September, 2015. As of 2015, India
[92]
now blocks more Facebook content than any other nation.

Some Bollywood studios came up with public education message that black money generated from pre-release of their content
through offline markets are sourced for terrorism, though sources were not cleared. Reports show dents that these pirated videos
make are significantly low, in Indian culture.

In top ten actors who gets paid the most includes Indian actors, that's how rich the film culture is when lopsidedly there are
[93]
generations who are brought up in poverty and related malignance.

In September 2016, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told a court that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! had agreed to censor
all information on their search engines related to prenatal sex discernmentin order to comply with the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal
Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994.[94][95]

In August 2017, Madras High Court banned the internet archiveWayback Machine.[96]

Blocked websites
Over the years, the government has banned thousands of websites and URLs in the country with the help of internet service providers
or under the directive of the courts. For example, in August 2015, the government banned at least 857 sites for their pornographic
[97]
contents and in June 2016, the government further banned over 200 URLs for providing 'Escort Services'.

In August 2015, the Central government of India ordered TRAI and Internet Service Providers based in India to ban domestic and
international porn websites. In response, nearly 857 websites were blocked.[98] Star India Pvt Ltd, an entertainment company owned
by 21st Century Fox have successfully gained authorization through hoodwinking the court. They can now force ISPs to block entire
websites to tackle Internet piracy and sharing for their copyrighted content. This was gained through falsifying data that these sites
are uploading videos when it is a user centered activity and covering up the fact each of these websites have active departments to
regulate any sorts of infringement and misuse of their services. Prathiba M Singh, who had represented Star India, cited poor
resources of media giants like Star India, for targeting these domains without block expiry period and their legal team termed these
sites as "rogue sites" and expressed delight in their successive filing from 2014 and incognito win to violate freedom of trade on the
Internet at least in India. Though some critics say this would be lifted eventually by seeing the fallacy as in similar previous cases.[99]
Many has raised there voice through social media that the proceedings being overly suspicious and was gained for a alternate means,
which is aimed for profiting rather than the initial spike of alleged piracy of these copyrighted contents and strengthening an ongoing
practice of bottle-necking the internet users to forced payment and culture of on-demand online access to content.[100][101] This has
happened in the same week were media personnel's filter-free over indulgences to manipulate ongoing cases and political statements
.[102][103]
without any guidelines were appalled by Lawyers in the country

In 2016, India also put forwarded a new plan to control internet usage of its netizen's. Accessing or pop-ups from ad services or
malware infection of websites banned in India might invite 3 years of jail sentence and a fine of Rs 3 lakh. As of now URLs and
websites were blocked using DNS-filtering. This means the DNS of the blocked site was added to a list maintained by the internet
service provider and whenever a user tried connecting to that site, the DNS server of the internet service provider would block that
request. The respected officials suspect netizens are circumventing these measures knowingly or unknowingly. Government also
intends to provide wide educative information classes, provision of free operating system with utilities for malware free access to
internet and for computerized activities of daily life as a primary method. Currently the government are joining hands with media
content providers and internet service providers like big companies Tata Communications and Airtel to manage a number of internet
gateways in India. Though many legal, technical and social action groups consider this as a threatening approach. Many social action
groups say that these as inappropriate time and money spend while real issues like unemployment, access to education, freedom of
practicing religion, women and children safety, drug use are ever rising. Lawyers with technical background say this might be
warning message and DNS filtering is a better practice for enforcing Anti-piracy laws in current India. Some of them are also wary
about how will these actions get reflected in terms hostility towards human rights, implications of these fines, profiteering
stakeholders agendas, is it the government's first step to a long term plan "monitoring the whole world wide web" as China does.
Many of these services are malvertising, click away access and pops ups, how does the government intend to tackle these issues and
problems with the current plan that is heavily in favor of corporation's margin and doesn't cater to its users needs. Other groups
express their fear and uneasiness whether these will lead toemergency era like arrests where anything that government bodies believe
is an "offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act,
1957".[104]

Warning that allegedly created for TATA and Airtel users with threats implied beyond normal DoT remainder and block message
shows as:[105]

This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the
orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the
contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections
63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of upto Rs.
3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at urlblock [at] tatacommunications
[dot] com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the
relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance

Current situation that have led to this sudden moves is reported to be by influence of film studios in India and courts who have
regularly issued orders in the favor for them. Often these are done with the contracted lawyers of film studios approach courts in
regular intervals ahead and after a movie's release seeking preventive blocks on the URLs they compile and list. This lists in reality
are unprofessionally and "poorly compiled and often block is sought on full websites just on the basis of whims and fancies". "Once
this order are issued, the copies of the order along with the list of URLs to be blocked go to DoT, which then they pass an order to
internet service providers to block these sites". The interesting part here is that once a URL is blocked it remains blocked, even years
after the release of the film without an expiry. Patent lawyers also suggest to make practical changes in its laws according to the
current e-environment like making materials accessible within six months to one year and protecting the content from manipulation
[106]
and creative infringement of the same under copyright laws to lessen the current piracy problems.

Usage of Internet kill switch


Jammu and Kashmir
The State government shut down the Internet on 1718 March 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir to stop separatists from addressing a
United Nations Human Rights Council sideline event via video link in Geneva.[107] Internet access was shut down again for mobile
and landline broadband in July 2016 against the backdrop ofprotests.

[108] ordered the various Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in


The state government of Jammu and Kashmir on 26 April 2017
the valley to block access to 22 social networking websites for one month saying among other things, "endangering public life and
property and causing unrest/ disharmony in the state". Pertinently, the order was passed by exercising the powers conferred under the
Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 which technically became obsolete circa 2008 when the Government of India decided to stop all
telegraph services in the country. As a result of this censorship, people living in the valley have resorted to circumvention tactics in
the form of using web proxies, VPNs among other things. The popularity of these tactics have compelled the government to block
access to Android Play store among other services for some time in a bid to prevent citizens from getting access to these services.

The banned services include widely used services like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp but also surprisingly the list includes websites
like QQ, Baidu, Qzone, which are not used outside of mainland China. Xanga, a website featured in the list, shut down in 2013.[109]
These websites mostly being in Mandarin has people concerned that the censorship has been an attempt to suppress dissent only by
all means necessary, as opposed to their claim of "maintaining peace and harmony".

Gujarat
The State government shut down the Internet in Vadodara, Gujarat from September 27, 2014 for 3 days due to communal clashes
between two communities, even though only the central government has the power to shut down the Internet under the Information
Technology Act, 2000[110] and that, in addition, under a declared state of emergency under article 352 of the Constitution of India
when freedom of speech and expression is suspended. No formal announcement was made regarding this by the city police or the
Internet service providers.[111][112][113]

When Patidar reservation agitationturned violent on 25 August 2015, the internet service on mobile phones and certain websites like
[114]
WhatsApp and Facebook on broadband were blocked for six days from 26 August 2015 to 31 August 2015 across the state.

Nagaland 2015
The State government of Nagaland shut down the Internet in the entire state from 7 March 2015 for 48 hours due to the mob lynching
of a man.[115][116]

Nagaland 2017
Both SMS and internet/data services were suspended in Nagaland from 30 January, which were restored on 20 February after being
blocked for 20 days.The block was initiated to prevent the spread of violence in the state. This situation came up when two Naga
tribal bodies had served a three-day ultimatum to Zeliang to step down following the government's decision to hold local body
elections with 33% reservation for women in 12 towns across the state and the death of two persons in clashes between the police and
[117][118][119]
protestors at Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, on the night of January 31.

Manipur 2015
The State government of Manipur shut down the Internet of some service provider those who provide Internet through mobile
technology 2G/3G/4G in Manipur from 1 September evening to 8 September 2015 afternoon due to agitated over the passing of three
Bills. Police and protesters clashed in different areas of Churachandpur district as mobs went on rampage attacking residences of
Ministers, MLAs and MP. [120][121]

Manipur 2016
The State government of Manipur ordered by respective DC to shutting down Mobile data service in Imphal west and Imphal east
district from 17 December 2016 till further order [1]. On 18 December 2016 Home department of Government of Manipur ordered to
shutdown all Mobile data service, SMS in Manipur from 10 am on 18 December 2016 to 10 am on 30 December 2016. The situation
come up after the UNC blocked national highways[2] for more than 50 days andNSCN-IM attacked police officers at Lokchao.[3]

See also
Censorship in India
Information Technology Act 2000
Websites blocked in India
Fundamental Rights in India
Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties of India

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