21 companies, including Facebook, Google and Yahoo, have been ordered by an Indian court to remove “offensive” material from their websites or face being blocked. So far Facebook and Google have announced their compliance with the ruling.
21 companies, including Facebook, Google and Yahoo, have been ordered by an Indian court to remove “offensive” material from their websites or face being blocked.
The Delhi High Court told the firms that they must develop a way to check and remove offensive and objectionable materials or it would follow in the footsteps of China and block all offending websites.
Facebook and Google have since announced that they have removed the content in question, though it is not exactly clear what this material actually is, and whether these firms can keep up with censoring any future content that the Indian authorities may not like.
A civil case is also being heard today in Delhi, brought by Mufti Aizaz Arshad Kazmi, a Muslim who alleges that the companies are hosting religiously intolerant material.
The situation in India raises big questions over how far countries can go with censorship of the internet, and whether or not big firms should comply with those orders. Google has recently been attempting to repair relationships with China
after taking a stand against censorship there, as it is otherwise losing out on the potential revenue of that huge market.
Many of the companies in question have filed an appeal for the Indian ruling to be overturned, stating that it is impossible for them to monitor and pre-filter content, not to mention the issue of freedom of speech, which many feel is being trampled upon by increasingly authoritarian regimes.