Government of India bans 857 websites on grounds of ‘morality and decency’


Leaked order suggests 857 websites blocked in India and not all are adult websites

The government of India seems have taken a heavy handed approach to the porn ban which we reported on Friday. It was reported that ISPs had started blocking Porn websites like Pornhub, Clips4Sale, Xvideos etc on a secret directive from the Department of Telecommunications.
However it seems that the Indian government has erred big time  if one goes by the leaked copy of the order which reveals that some of websites that are blocked cannot be classified as adult websites by any iota of imagination.
The leaked copy of the purported order issued by the Department of Telecommunications was made by public by Pranesh Prakash, policy director at Centre for Internet and Society (CIS).

The confidential order dated July 31, 2015 addressed to all Internet service licensees asks for the “disablement” of 857 URLs” under “the provision of section 7913)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the content hosted on these websites relate to morality, decency as given in Article 19(2)of the Constitution of India.”
As pointed above many of the sites in the list of 857 can actually be classified as pornographic websites or for that matter, even as adult websites. The list includes the likes of College Humor that is a popular comedy website and 9GAG, a social sharing website.
In the order, the DoT has directed the ISPs to “take necessary action as per the direction of the DeitY (Department of Electronics and Information Technology)” and have been prevented from reproducing the compliance letter with instructions to keep the contents of the letter confidential.
Last month, the Supreme Court had declined to block pornography websites in India and Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu too observed that banning the watching of pornography at home would be a violation of Article 21, the Right to Personal Liberty.
The list of the blocked websites can be found here.

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