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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 23, 2012 AT 05:35 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 23, 2012 07:35 IST

Be very afraid. For your government does not know what to do, even when it comes to what it calls 'national interest'.

It defied biology. It was not dead, but rigor mortis had set in. Yet knees jerked, if only spasmodically. But that too was weeks later...

Something like this is perhaps how one would describe the last few months under UPA government. 

Let's leave the horrendous violence in Assam for a minute, and just look at a very partial and random list from the last one month or so:

July 19: Pakistani blogger Faraz Ahmed wrote in the Express Tribune about how hateful messages were being spread in Pakistan by misrepresenting fake photos: Social Media Is Lying to You about Burma’s Muslim ‘Cleansing’

July 20: The very same article was reproduced by the widely read New Age Islam with a clear warning: After Instigating Conflicts With Christians, Jews And Hindus, Do Islamists Now Want Muslims To Fight Buddhists: Social Media Is Lying to You about Burma’s Muslim ‘Cleansing’

The expose is widely discussed on Twitter.

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 23, 2012 AT 05:35 IST, Edited At: Aug 23, 2012 07:35 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Feb 22, 2012 AT 23:32 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 22, 2012 23:32 IST

It's all over Facebook, and now our mailboxes are being barraged that unless we link this one here, the forwards won't stop. So here goes, as mid-week levity and mental-health break:

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Feb 22, 2012 AT 23:32 IST, Edited At: Feb 22, 2012 23:32 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 13, 2012 AT 23:21 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 13, 2012 23:21 IST

Some background first:

Dec 5, 2011: In l'affaire Kapil Sibal V/s Social Networking sites, NYT had reported Mr Kapil Sibal as showing the representatives of social networking sites a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party’s president, Sonia Gandhi, saying: “This is unacceptable.” 

In his hurriedly called press-conference after the above news broke, on December 6, Mr Sibal had changed the focus to "Indian sentiments and religious sentiments":

"It was brought to my notice some of the images and content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google are extremely offensive to the religious sentiments of people of this country," Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

"I believe that no reasonable person, aware of the sensibilities of a large section of the communities in this country, would wish to see this in the public domain," Sibal said.

The content posted on some of the sites, the minister said, was so offensive that it would hurt the religious sentiments of a large section of communities in the country. These contents would also offend any reasonable person looking at those images.

"We will not allow the Indian sentiments and religious sentiments of large sections of the community to be hurt," he said.


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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 13, 2012 AT 23:21 IST, Edited At: Jan 13, 2012 23:21 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 07, 2011 AT 23:58 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 07, 2011 23:58 IST

Mr Kapil Sibal was quoted by the Hindu today as saying that "he had been left with no choice" because the internet companies "refused to delete incendiary hate-speech."

In response, Google pointed to its Transparency Report which effectively demolishes Mr Sibal's claims, as it points out that out of 358 items requested to be removed in the period Jan-June 2011, only 8 requests pertained to hate speech, while there were as many as 255 complaints against "Government criticism".

Google also told Medianama:

“We believe that access to information is the foundation of a free society. Google Search helps spread knowledge, enabling people to find out about almost anything by typing a few words into a computer.  And services like YouTube and Google+ help users to express themselves and share different points of view.  Where content is illegal or breaks our terms of service we will continue to remove it.”

Mr Sibal's claims fail to stand up to scrutiny and are contradicted by another, yet unpublished, draft report by the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) which shows that intermediaries are erring “on the side of caution” and "over-complying after complaints are filed" and that free speech on the Internet in India is already being curtailed in a “chilling” manner.

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 07, 2011 AT 23:58 IST, Edited At: Dec 07, 2011 23:58 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 05, 2011 AT 23:59 IST ,  Edited At: Dec 05, 2011 23:59 IST

The Indian government has asked Internet companies and social media sites like Facebook to prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online, reports Heather Timmins in the NYT:

About six weeks ago, Mr. Sibal called legal representatives from the top Internet service providers and Facebook into his New Delhi office, said one of the executives who was briefed on the meeting.

At the meeting, Mr. Sibal showed attendees a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party’s president, Sonia Gandhi.  “This is unacceptable,” he told attendees, the executive said, and he asked them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites.

In the second meeting with the same executives in late November, Mr. Sibal told them that he expected them to use human beings to screen content, not technology, the executive said.

The three executives said Mr. Sibal has told these companies that he expects them to set up a proactive prescreening system, with staffers looking for objectionable content and deleting it before it is posted...

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Dec 05, 2011 AT 23:59 IST, Edited At: Dec 05, 2011 23:59 IST
     
 
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