GOVERNMENT BANS ONLY CHILD-PORN WEBSITES
The government on Tuesday asked all internet service providers (ISPs) to use their discretion while disabling the 857 websites mentioned in the department of telecommunications (DoT) order issued last week. Only those sites featuring child pornography should be disabled, the government informed ISPs on Tuesday.
“ISPs are directed that they are free not to disable any of the 857 URLs, as given in the earlier list dated July 30, which do not have child pornographic content,” said a letter by the department of electronics and information technology asking the DoT to inform the ISPs.
The hasty decision on Tuesday came in the wake of criticism that some sites named in the order did not contain any pornographic material. One of the sites was of Le Dauphine ,a French newspaper, according to sources.
Last week’s DoT order had invited widespread criticism, especially on social media platforms with some critics even terming the move ‘Talibani.’
Sources say the 857 sites in the DoT order were based on the list provided to the Supreme Court by the petitioner of a suit seeking to ban porn sites. The suit, filed in 2013, says pornography is the cause of increasing violence against women. The next hearing in the SC is scheduled for August 10.
The decision to reverse the DoT earlier order was taken in a hurried meeting on Tuesday between communications and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, IT secretary R S Sharma and additional solicitor general Pinky Anand.
“The earlier action was in obedience to a observation of the Supreme Court where it asked the department to take action on a list of alleged porn sites provided by the petitioner,” said Prasad. On Monday, government officials termed the ban a ‘temporary measure’ till final orders were announced by the Supreme Court.
This fresh order has once again put the ISPs in a tight spot. “We are not able to understand the order and need some more clarity from the licensor (DoT). The licensor has to come out very clearly since it is not possible for ISPs to monitor these websites all the time,” said Rajesh Chharia, president of Internet Services Providers Association of India (ISPAI).