Centre blocked around 20,000 URLs between 2014-2020, half of them in 2020 alone, MeitY tells Parliament

The number of sites blocked by the government in the last seven years reached almost 10 thousand in 2020, registering an increase of over 20 times when compared to 2014.

Minister Of State For Electronics And Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the actions were taken as per the rules specified in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009, notified under section 69A of the IT Act. (PTI)

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology today informed the Lok Sabha that it blocked a record number of 9849 sites in the year 2020. The number of sites blocked by the government in the last seven years reached almost 10 thousand in 2020, registering an increase of over 20 times when compared to 2014. The ministry said this in response to the questions of Lok Sabha MP Mohammed Faizal P.P.

“Will the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology be pleased to state:- a) the year-wise details of the number of blocked accounts on social media platforms under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act since 2014; (b) the reasons for passing orders to block Twitter accounts of organisations like Kisan Ekta Morcha and The Caravan magazine in the month of February, 2021; (c) whether above said accounts were chosen for their support to the ongoing farmers‘ protests; and if so, the details thereof; and (d) whether a review committee undertook a review of the blocking orders as provided for in the Rules framed under the aforementioned Act; and if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor?,” asked Faizal.

To this, Minister Of State For Electronics And Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “Under the provision of section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, Government has directed for blocking of 471, 500, 633, 1385, 2799, 3635 and 9849 number of Accounts/URLs during the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.”

He added that all the accounts/URLs were blocked based on the ‘requests, received from the concerned designated Nodal Officers of the Ministries/ States, on specified grounds and following the due process’. He said the actions were taken as per the rules specified in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009, notified under section 69A of the IT Act.

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