More than 17,000 websites blocked for spreading obscene content, violating Indian values

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Updated: February 13, 2019 10:26:11 PM

The government admitted in Parliament that it's difficult to regulate the online world as it provides the ability to post anything from anywhere in the world.

It’s one of the biggest crackdown on the websites spreading obscene content on the internet.

In a major crackdown on the websites that have been found violating Indian culture or disseminating obscene and misleading content, the Union government has blocked more than 17,000 websites in last three years. This is one of the biggest crackdown by the union government in recent times.

“The ability to post anything from anywhere and at any time provides the potential for dissemination of obscene, misleading and undesired content,” minister of state in the ministry of communications Manoj Sinha informed the Lok Sabha adding that the Cyber space is a complex place involving people, software, hardware and services in a virtually border less world.

He said the potential for dissemination of obscene and misleading content through emails, messaging platforms like WhatsApp and social media also exist adding that under the provisions of Information Technology Act of 2008, the government can initiate action against such websites and platform.

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While section 67 of the Information Technology Act empowers the government to prohibit publishing or transmitting any obscene material in electronic form, section 67A provides for punishment for transmitting or publishing sexually explicit content. And section 69A empowers the government to block public access of any information through any computer resource.

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Manoj Sinha said the government can also invoke provisions of section 5 (2) of Indian Telegraph Act to block any obscene or objectionable content online in addition to using the provisions of Information Technology Act.

The minister said the government has ordered department of telecommunications (DoT) to block 17,444 sites in last three years on the basis of recommendation of CBI, ministry of electronics, courts of law and several other organisations.

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