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Clandestine Internet Censorship in India

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the too-hot-for-your-screen dept.

134

nooyi86 writes "China and the Middle East block sites in order to suppress political or social dissent. Website blocking in India, on the other hand, is driven by national security-related paranoia, or hate speech that may lead to violence. The state must save its citizens from propaganda of both the extreme right and the extreme left. Shivam Vij has posted a comprehensive profile of Internet censorship in India."

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134 comments

Why allow western companies to support this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16347977)

We should ask ourselves if western governments should allow western companies (Google) to support censorship by building this into products.

http://www.verkiezingen2006.nl/ [verkiezingen2006.nl]

Re:Why allow western companies to support this? (1, Insightful)

danbeck (5706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350401)

Why? What would this accomplish, other than government getting it's filthy hands deeper into the private sector?

From the stand point of the US, our constitution protects us from government censorship of political dissent, in the form of speech and in the right to assemble. That protection does not extend to the right for the federal goverment to tell a company what content they can and can not serve it's customers.

Google can not censor what our constitution guarantees, only the goverment can do that. It's an ignorant premise to think that google doesn't have the right to do whatever they damned well please and only allow people to search whatever damned content they please, as long as those things don't break local or federal laws.

Last I checked, the body of people who think that the internet is made from tubes has not decided that it's unlawful for a website to only show the content it wishes to show. That would be like saying McDonalds.com has to show a Wendy's or Taco Bell menu, for the sake of ending the censorship of it's competitors.

If Google should be forced to never censor it's pages, that means link and adword spammers should stay at the top of search results and Google should never have the right to even rank a page, as they are censoring those pages that are only somewhat relevant to a search keyword. Exactly where does your idiotic idea end?

You are wrapping your self-righteous crusade to end censorship in your own little version of it. You have the right to do what you want and be free, but Google doesn't?

Here's a suggestion, why don't we work within the law and do what has been done for over 200 years in this country. If a company is doing something you do not like, or their level of service is subpar to your standards, DON'T USE THEIR SERVICES.

That's right, stop using Google. Tell your friends that Google is in bed with the Chi-comms and they oppress the Chinese people. Tell them of the Evils(tm) of Google and start a movement to educate the world. Just stop expecting the government to wipe your ass.

Re:Why allow western companies to support this? (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352253)

Why is this modded flamebait? This is what you do if you want a change in society. Last I checked we are, theoretically, living in a capitalistic society, not a socialistic one. Why do we keep asking the government to intervene?

bummer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16347983)

please say it ain't so.

Censorship sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348011)

it`s clear that in big countries where people weren`t free a long time it is risky to open their eyes

Re:Censorship sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348065)

Yeah, sure enough the countries that have been free for a long time aren't censoring anything. They surely would never use the guise of terrorism to cover lies.

If you believe the above, your government did a extremely good job.

Re:Censorship sucks (1)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348735)

Yeah, because history has shown repeatedly that by hiding a problem you can make it go away.

~X~

Another grey area... (5, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348103)

Does intent matter?

Even the article summary says it - this is not censorship for political means, it is to prevent inciting violence.

I am 100% for "free speech", but even in the US you "can't yell fire in a theater".

In the US you can freely spew "hate speech", and most people ignore it, as they should.

But is there a different standard, based on the local population? Clearly there are some places in the world where the people are culturally less likey to ignore perceived insults. Should the "don't yell fire" rule be adapted for the locale?

In the West you can do something offense like piss christ [wikipedia.org] and not get a village burned down.

Can you say the same where you are? Should you be able to?

Let's see who has the balls to come up with "Piss Mohammed". Ask a certain Danish cartoonist if he would like to try. Ask him if he would like to do it in a village in India.

Everything is not black and white - there are shades of grey and lots of other colors too.

In the US you can freely spew "hate speech" (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348125)

No, actually you cant. Currently the courts consider that outside 'protected' speech.

Re:In the US you can freely spew "hate speech" (2, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348927)

Of course, because the KKK says nothing that could be construed as "hate speech" during their rallies, marches, and other events that they decide to have in public venues...

Re:In the US you can freely spew "hate speech" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350767)

KKK?

Um, you forget there are others that are in the 'hate' game. Ever hear of the black panthers? They are no different, and guess waht, they are black.

Or are you a raicst yourself and only 'whitey' can spew out hate?

Re:In the US you can freely spew "hate speech" (1)

oddfox (685475) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351861)

The Black Panthers has toned down their rhetoric a lot since the days of their inception. The KKK, on the other hand, is still as hateful as ever to many more groups.

Re:In the US you can freely spew "hate speech" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348945)

Yes, actually, you can. Look up "ACLU v Skokie". Hate speech is legally protected unless it is likely to incite "imminent lawless action", just like any other form of speech. Imminent in this case is determined as "faster than someone there can call the cops and an officer can arrive on the scene".

Re:In the US you can freely spew "hate speech" (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350307)

That is US only though. So it does not apply to the rest of the world where the level of triggerhappiness is not a deciding factor. It is either hate or not.

Re:Another grey area... (4, Insightful)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348159)

Whatever you say may be true. As I see it, the bigger problem here is not the blocking, but the clandestine way the government can go about it and the fact that the government (ie., the executive and the beauracracy) not being answerable to anyone. A single beuracrat can do this all by himself without needing a permission from judiciary or even legislature. Yes, if it becomes an issue they may step back if it seems to hurt the government politically, but the rules do not prevent the government from acting on its own.

Just a little while back, blogspot was banned. It became a huge issue and so the government directed the ISPs to lift the block. Once the ban was lifted on blogspot, people were content. Nobody asked the government what justification it had to block the various sites and the government did not even bother to issue a clarification about why it did what it did.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

libkarl2 (1010619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350325)

Nobody asked the government what justification it had to block the various sites and the government did not even bother to issue a clarification about why it did what it did.

Those who do ask the government why it did something stupid/evil/dishonest/embarassing rarely get a straight answer.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

iqeaten (961308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351241)

This is probably the intelligent way to do it. Banning or blocking something publicly has the counterproductive side-effect of actually drawing attention to what is being banned. My first reaction when I read about the Mohammed cartoons was to try to Google them to find out just what it was in them that caused all the offense. It is hardly a good idea to draw so much of attention to something that the advocates of a ban want to suppress.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352157)

I have seen this comment elsewhere too - that by doing it publicly they are drawing more attention to it. It does not have to be public, it can be obtaining the permission before (or approval within a certain timeperiod) from a court or judge. This can be kept official secret.

We need an EFF or the equivalent in India. Their biggest challenge would not be to fight the government but educating the public and fighting the status quo public opinion about individual liberties. The police routinely submit cellphone records (conversations) in courts to prove their case. And all they need to obtain these, is an order from a commissioner or even lower official. Again - no oversight. There is nothing preventing the police officers to tap the phone of their wives (if they suspect) or their personal enemies just because they want to. The problem is that there is very little public awareness of these dangers. I mean, public knows that the police and the government can do anything they want, but at this point, people are accepting it as they believe they are powerless, or the government needs all these powers to keep the bad elements in check.

I wish our constitution assembly looked at the US constitution more than the UK one when framing our own about 60 years ago.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348313)

You should be able to say what you want, and let other people draw their own conclusions about what you're saying. That said, schools should focus a lot more on developing critical thinking skills, so people won't be so easily influenced by bullshit.

Re:Another grey area... (4, Insightful)

Max von H. (19283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348479)

The USA: 280 millions ppl, somewhat educated for the most part.
India: 1 billion+ ppl, out of which a big bunch are poor and uneducated.

Educated people mostly disregard hate speech ('they know better') but we've all seen the kind of mass hysteria that can go through the poor/illiterates, whether it's in South-East Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, a football stadium or in Kentuky.

I can't stand censorship, but I don't believe hate speech should be tolerated, especially when the targeted audience doesn't 'know any better', for it leads to a form of wide scale brain-washing. Hate speech goes against the very idea of freedom and equality, why should it be tolerated? Theft is against our principles and isn't tolerated, calling for hate and murder shouldn't be either. Hate speech is what's used on populaces to spur wars and, ultimately, makes the bed for extreme dictatorships.

I don't think the exercise of freedom should require the ability to destroy what's taken centuries to achieve just to satisfy some ignorant, frustrated, deranged wannabe-dictators.

Note that I live in a country where hate/racist/negationist speech is forbidden by law and I for one find myself a lot more free than if the stupidest branch of the gene pool was able to get its way.

Re:Another grey area... (2, Insightful)

scheme (19778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348825)

The USA: 280 millions ppl, somewhat educated for the most part. India: 1 billion+ ppl, out of which a big bunch are poor and uneducated.
Educated people mostly disregard hate speech ('they know better') but we've all seen the kind of mass hysteria that can go through the poor/illiterates, whether it's in South-East Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, a football stadium or in Kentuky.

You're also ignoring the fact that the US hasn't had any recent incidents of major religious strife. India has had something like that in the last 60 years so people alive still remember having family injured or killed for religious reasons.

Northern Ireland has a relatively educated populace but it's still had quite of a bit of catholic vs. protestant strife so I don't think that education explains it all.

Re:Another grey area... (0)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351645)

Um.. the last major string of killing in India I can remember was in the mid 80s. It's a lot more recent than most people think.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350311)

I can't stand censorship, but I don't believe hate speech should be tolerated

Obviously you can stand censorship, since you're calling for it in your post.

You can legitimately "un-tolerate" it by speaking out against it, by pointing out the rascists, homophobes, et cetera, are idiots.

You cannot legitimately point guns at people to make them shut up.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351993)

You can legitimately "un-tolerate" it by speaking out against it, by pointing out the rascists, homophobes, et cetera, are idiots.

"Rascists", "homophobes", "idiots", why is it that the bulk of ad hominem arguments comes from "the nice people"?. In most cases, what your dealing with is a "Nationalist" (someone who distrusts certain nationalites because of cultural characteristics) or someone who contempt the homosexual lifestyle, rather than fearing homosexuals and someone who's parranoid rather than stupid. Sure, you sometimes get people who think that certain races are inferior and people who actually fear homosexuals but they are far rarer, it just sounds worse to call everyone that.

Re:Another grey area... (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351943)

Hate speech goes against the very idea of freedom and equality, why should it be tolerated?
No it doesn't. Hate speech is a bunch of angry people being very, very offensive and trying to provoke a reaction out of their audience. That's all it is. If the crowd chooses to become violent because of it then the individuals who became violent are the ones really at fault.

Placing all the blame on the rhetoric is just a cop out. People are responsible for their own actions and being drunk, angry or "under the spell" of some speaker is just nonsense. It's just another way of saying they were possessed by demons or some other supernatural influences. They weren't.

A talented and devious speaker says words meant to stir people into a frenzy. Big whup. Why should the rest of us lose our rights? Who gets to decide what's hate speech? What if someone protests vehemently against animal experimenters or corporate power or homosexuality or infant circumcision? Are they going to get locked up for being anti-science, anti-capitalist, anti-homosexual or anti-semetic? It's peoples actions that are illegal, not their opinions, expressed or not. I'll tolerate any opinion if the alternative means having ThoughtCrime on the books.

Theft is against our principles and isn't tolerated, calling for hate and murder shouldn't be either.
Soliciting murder is against the law. Calling for people to hate someone or something isn't. You might not like it, but people do have a right not to like, and even hate things. It's like that old Tom Lehrer joke: "I know there are people in the world that do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that."

People are free to hate. Happiness and love for your fellow man are not mandatory. Do we need to have "Good Citizen" inspectors that scrutinise people for any "anti-social" charaterstics? What you're proposing is mandatory political correctness. I'm sorry, but I would rather have my right to be offensive over your "right" not to be offended.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

faolan_devyn_aodfin (981785) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352001)

So where does Free Speech begin and Hate Speech begin. Funny I always thought your rights ended where my rights begin. For example you could preach that your followers could kill my peoples but you can't actually do it because doing so would violate my rights to Life, Liberty, and Prosperity.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352493)

Hate speech is very far reaching, and your request for non-violation of your personal rights is insufficient.

As an example, you are a store owner, member of a proper religious sect $FOO. Life is good. Then some people start hate speech against your sect. For example, they imply that your sect sacrifices newborn babies and makes hamburgers out of them. Your store sells hamburgers. Suddenly you see fewer customers, and later on your store is firebombed. But not a single word, not a single action was taken (until last night) against you personally; all the words were said against your group that you associate with. Minus firebombing, you may be driven out of business and still have nothing to accuse your attackers of. You can't summon the public opinion to the witness stand. When you start looking for a job you can't say why you are rejected everywhere. When your lease is up for renewal you can't tell why the owner decides to terminate it. When you need mortgage you can't tell why nobody wants to sell it to you. People emigrated to America in part because of hate speech and because of resulting social vacuum.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352241)

Educated people mostly disregard hate speech ('they know better') but we've all seen the kind of mass hysteria that can go through the poor/illiterates, whether it's in South-East Asia, the Middle-East, Africa

Like the poor, ignorant 9/11 hijackers?

a football stadium or in Kentuky.

Huh?

Re:Another grey area... (5, Funny)

shreevatsa (845645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348505)

For those who doubt that this is really happening in India, here is conclusive proof:
I'm in India, and I cannot access the article. In fact, I've seen this happen to many articles that Slashdot links to! ;-)


BTW, the page gives a Wordpress error saying "Error establishing a database connection"... nevermind, it's back up again; maybe the guy was just fiddling with some settings.

Re:Another grey area... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349427)

As a US citizen let me just say that we don't have some exclusive right to free speech, or any other freedom. It is a simple human right, and as long as it doesnt stop another human from beingable to live their life, it should be honored and defended. You could justify censorship in China, since they block the truth about Tiananmen Square, because if the people knew and could view images from the internet, it could incite a bloody revolution. People could get hurt, people could die.

But its not justified, because it's not right. Some freedoms are just bigger than the people who would die. Freedom of speech, the press, religion, these are bigger than individuals and nations, even bigger than the internet.

Now, do I hold it against google for blocking this stuff to pacify China? Not really. I think google sees the writing on the wall and reads the same thing that I do. A lot of western culture is infliltrating China and they cant stop it. Some of it sucks, like more cars and corporations, but the economic aspirations of over a billion people are growing right along with their desire to have individual freedoms.

Googles industry leading search combined with an army of progressively thinking chinese browsing the web means that free speech, free exchange of thoughts and ideas, is happening right now in China at an unprecedented pace. Blocking a few sights means google is still available to the people, even if it is crippled, and if that means the can goolge the answer to "How do I use a proxy to view blocked sites" that is a good thing.

Any country that wouldn't protect "Piss Mohammed" deserves the scrutiny of all the worlds goverments and people, as much as any goverment that uses WMDs.

Just my 2 cents

Re:Another grey area... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350021)

But is there a different standard, based on the local population? Clearly there are some places in the world where the people are culturally less likey to ignore perceived insults. Should the "don't yell fire" rule be adapted for the locale?
Indeed, India, while being a true democracy, is quite different culturally. For example, it has active laws criminalizing homosexuality, and there no intent to change them so far, because the people themselves are against it. I wonder if the people would actually support these new laws as well.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350331)

I am 100% for "free speech", but even in the US you "can't yell fire in a theater".

You can indeed yell "fire" in a theatre, if there happens to be fire, or if the circumstances are such that it's not going to cause a dangerous panic. (Penn Gillette does a great bit about this while juggling flaming torches - "Oh my god, FIRE! Oops, it went out".) The oft-cited restriction on yelling "fire!" is one of time and place of expression, not of content.

But is there a different standard, based on the local population?

No. Criminal sanctions against expressing certain messages - pointing guns at people to make them shut up - are never justified. Any society in which they occur is a poor excuse for a civilization.

Re:Another grey area... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350357)

But I should be able to create a Piss Mohammed in downtown Chicago or Denmark. That's what the problem is now. For some reason muslims aren't respecting my fucking shade of grey.

Put your money where your mouth is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350685)

You could probably have "Piss Mohammed" mass produced in China, very cheaply.

Think fast-food toy quality.

The little "made in china" on the bottom is just icing on the cake - The Chinese, ironically, will probably be the ones with the balls enough to save "Western" civilization, when push-comes-to-shove in the Islam vs The World problem.

Re:Another grey area... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350857)

Let's see who has the balls to come up with "Piss Mohammed".

This is the best idea I've heard in six years. If people can mock Christ, the pope and any number of Jewish icons, who the hell are these Mohammedan pricks to think they're a special case?

The least slight to their religion sets them off on a savage worldwide frenzy of death and destruction. It's a goddamned wonder there are any of them left, since they insist on emptying their mechanical dicks into the air every time they get excited over words or a drawing. How the women and children escape the rain of bullets on their cities is beyond me.

Of course they should be hung by the balls for his, but then, who believes they have any balls at all? They can only act in a mob setting, hiding behing their women, children and old people.

They can all kiss my fatwah ass.

Re:Another grey area... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351467)

In the US you can freely spew "hate speech", and most people ignore it, as they should. But is there a different standard, based on the local population? Clearly there are some places in the world where the people are culturally less likey to ignore perceived insults.

Perhaps because they are not used to it. If you protect people from unpleasent stuff, then they cannot handle it when it comes. You have to build up tolerance like a muscule: if you don't excercise it, it atrophies and you are vulnerable.

Note there was a US case where the KKK was nearly sensored from building flaming crosses. The ACLU took a lot of heat for defending that and almost lost, but it was the right move.
     

Re:Another grey area... (1)

burningion (936461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351501)

Either way, let's protect freedom of thought. Putting the mechanisms into place to monitor and police thought and speech is not a good thing. For those of you who haven't heard yet, the DemocraKey [travelingforever.com] solves a whole lot of these problems. And it's free.

The reason doesn't matter... (2, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348107)

...it is still the restriction of free speech. While truly "free" speech doesn't exist, even in the US (you can't yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater for the fun of it), governments should strive, as much as possible, to maintain the free speech in as intact a form is as reasonably possible. This strikes me as very Orwellian in nature: Not only are they restricting the speech of several people and groups (based on very vaguely defined criteria) but also essentially curtailing their right to assemble. Personally, it is sad that many other countries in the world do not have their citizens rights as plainly defined as we do here in the states. However, considering how much good that is doing us, perhaps that isn't quite enough either...

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348333)

What's the use of having your citizens rights plainly defined if they're being plain ignored? I'm sure I don't need to sum up examples.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348425)

Please, do give examples of where our first amendment rights are being violated in a significant way?

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

danbeck (5706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350439)

Give an example or STFU, please. This may sound like I'm trolling, but I'm dead serious. You just made the SERIOUS accusation that our rights as American citizens are being ignored, yet, I look around and I can't find that happening, anywhere.

You do still have the freedom of speech to be an ignorant fuck and say what you just said, don't you?

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350605)

I strongly suggest you read up on the USA PATRIOT Act and watch the news every now and then (supposing you get the same stuff we do). Or don't you consider eavesdropping without permission to be a violation of your rights?

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (2, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350699)


>You do still have the freedom of speech to be an ignorant fuck and say what you just said, don't you?

I know of a few situations where freedom of assembly is abridged, but in general I agree with you.

You cannot gather together with 75 other ignorant fucks on public land without getting permission from the government first. And you cannot do this at all unless you are willing and able to designate one of those 75 people as an individual who can take responsibility for the entire group. This sounds reasonable to some people, but it is completely contrary to the entire premise of the founding principle that drove the First Amendment into existence.

I have personally had my rights abridged by action related to this rule, and the experience has caused me to cease my support of the rulemaking process in the Federal Government.

I have personally been cited, had automatic weapons pointed at me, and threatened with up to five years in prison for doing nothing at all except peaceable assembly among a very loosely affiliated group. It will be impossible to convince me that this is not a total violation of my rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, but the government has consistently inisted otherwise. Until CFR 251 and 261 are changed such that they do not abridge the right of the people to peaceably assemble on public land, I will not accept the premise that no fundamental loss of civil rights has been suffered by the people.

http://prop1.org/rainbow/ [prop1.org]

Maybe you have not had the diligence to see your rights being abridged, or maybe you have not had the misfortune of being among a group that was targeted by the government, but that doesn't mean everyone has been so careless or so lucky.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

danbeck (5706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351515)

You cannot gather together with 75 other ignorant fucks on public land without getting permission from the government first....

I'm sorry, but this is nothing new. It's common to nearly every city and county in the US that you need a permit to assemble in groups over some arbitrary amount. Reasons range from public safety, respect for the rights of others citizens or keeping riots or mobs from taking place. i.e. You can't just take over a park or city block and deny others the right to use it without first allowing the city or county to be ready for it.

Could it be that the FS doesn't want large groups of people coming into a national park and trashing it, at least not without making someone or some group responsible for what goes on. Your right to assembly doesn't mean you can just go and squat wherever you want and do whatever you want with no reprecussions.

Read up on it someday: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_assembly [wikipedia.org]

Maybe you have not had the diligence to see your rights being abridged, or maybe you have not had the misfortune of being among a group that was targeted by the government, but that doesn't mean everyone has been so careless or so lucky.
No, I do have the diligence and belive me, I am more than angry enough at idiotic laws that restrict my freedoms, but I don't quite see the goverment requiring a permit from 75 people wanting to have a party in the middle of a national park as something that's a restriction of freedom. At least not as it's laid out in the US constitution.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16352091)

Try standing across the street at the next Democratic or Republican convention, holding up a sign that disagrees with whatever their "conventional" thought is. No, not 75 people, just you. Report back how you fare.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16352165)

I'll top that. How about trying to sit at the visitors gallery in the Senate wearing a T-shirt with the words "Bring our boys Home".

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16352549)

You'd fair far better at a Democratic convention that at a Rage-a-holic Republican convetion. Granted, 'both' of the parties in your one party system are worthly hatemongers, but if you all do not want to live in a democracy like those of us in the rest of the the 'western' nations, that is your problem.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16351833)

Joe Blackhat can't legally tell you how to bypass the protection on Windows Media or Fairplay. I consider that a serious First Amendment violation.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349021)

and people wonder why i use http://anonet.org/ [anonet.org] its the only free speach area left, with plenty of technology information to keep the nerds happy

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

mudeth (1010263) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350223)

I wasn't able to read the article; it gives me a DNS error. Is it being censored? whois fails, proxies aren't working; his server must have choked from traffic, and he must have taken it down. His nameserver's in India too, so there's a possibility of it being blocked. An online whois worked, though. I've mailed him requesting for a text. The main thing about India is that people tend to be very groupist, probably because of the large number of groups we have here, some of which have histories of conflict. And things like censorship are (ideally) wise. I say ideally because I don't know who decides that is hate-inciting. IMO, the important thing is that the person doing the censorship is qualified to do so. Doesn't slashdot have censorship? Will it allow you to post anti-semitic words? If I say N*gro, will my comment be deleted? I think it will; most sites have moderators, and it makes sense. The ones that don't are full of people flaming each other for no particular reason.

Re:The reason doesn't matter... (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352409)

Will it allow you to post anti-semitic words?

Let's see. "Fucking Jews; they are responsible for all the wars in the world."

Hmm. The filters must be down or something.

If I say N*gro, will my comment be deleted? I think it will; most sites have moderators, and it makes sense.


I think the word you are looking for is 'Nigger', and it has never stopped the GNAA from using it here. The difference is that Slashdot is a privately owned site, and they can place whatever restrictions they want (within reason) on their servers. If you do not like Slashdot's moderation, you are free to start your own site with whatever rules YOU want. In India, the GOVERNMENT is placing the restrictions, and you cannot just 'go someplace else' (without leaving the country). It all comes back to who is allowed to decide. I do not like the idea of professional censors, because they always end up abusing their powers to benefit themselves (censoring people who disagree with them, etc.).

The Middle East is a country? (1)

General_Crespin (840569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348119)

Since when?

Re:The Middle East is a country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348245)

It never says that the Middle East is a country. I see where it says that "China and the Middle East" censor sites, but I don't see where it says "Countries such as China and the Middle East" censor sites.

Middle East Firewall Analysis (1)

Computer Guru (967408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348147)

NeoSmart Technologies had a very thorough analysis of Middle East firewall technologies published a while back, I think their model was the Saudi Arabian policy.... it's really interesting from a technology point-of-view, how the proxy filters on-the-fly modify incoming cookies to change them to their liking and the heuristic detection methods employed (not used in China for example). Middle East Firewalls [neosmart.net]

Freedom of speech is never absolute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348253)

The case Brandenburg v. Ohio found that the US government could restrict free speech only if it was "likely to incite imminent lawless action".

Now clearly freedom of speech is a limited right. Its not absolute in any country in the world. Come to think of it cannot be absolute. (If its absolute then you infringe on the rights of someone else.) The true test of censorship is in a court of law. Is the process arbitrary ? is there a due process. If there is no due process does a free judiciary strike down the censorship...

That is true freedom.

After the Gauntanmo bay debacle the SC of US came into the picture and clearly that shows how well a democracy works not the government of the country ...

Its the inherent checks and balances that make the differnet.

Interesting conincidence_ (1, Insightful)

morleron (574428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348309)

Hmmm...The link is dead, but does not appear to be Slashdotted as it responses quickly to a ping. Is this a case of dynamic cencorship in action?

More seriously, given the trend towards totalitarianism here in the U.S. I won't be surprised when this sort of thing begins here. After all, what better way to control a population than to deprive the people of information, particularly information that reflects badly on the government? Anyone want to start a pool about when this begins here in the U.S.?

Just my $.02,
Ron

Article Text (4, Informative)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348523)

Had trouble getting this, others obviously as well, so here it is.

---

The Discreet Charms of the Nanny State
Published by Shivam Vij October 6th, 2006 in The Internet and bylines.

Books and films are banned as a result of protests when someone claims to be offended, but websites are blocked unilaterally, clandestinely by the government in its benign attempt to save you from propaganda of both the extreme left and the extreme right.

An edited version of this article by me has appeared in Tehelka.

On 29 June this year, the Department of Telecom of the Ministry of India's Communication and Information Technology asked some 150 Internet Servive Providers to block access to the website of the People's War Group, www.geocities.com/cpimlpwg. Exactly a month later, the DoT issues another letter informing ISPs that "M/S Yahoo! Inc." (which runs Geocities) had removed the PWG site anyway, and so all ISPs were requested to make sure that Geocities per se was not blocked.

This is the first time a provider of Internet services has agreed to the Indian government's demand of completely removing a particular website, thus establishing a dangerous precedent. Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft do this regularly for China and other countries, with the difference that it is public knowledge there, and these companies come under attack from free speech activists the world over.

It is curious as to what made Yahoo! Change its mind about India: in 2003 they had refused the India's demand to remove a mailing list run on Yahoo! Groups by a banned militant outfit, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), a militant outfit of the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya.

The terms and conditions of these online services - which no one reads - clearly say that they may terminate their services on requests by law enforcement or other government agencies without prior notice.

On 15 May 2006, the Maoist website www.peoplesmarch.com was deleted by their hosting company on the request of the Indian government. Not that it has made much of a difference to them: they're now at http://peoplesmarch.googlepages.com/ [googlepages.com] whose homepage asserts their right to free speech and condemns India's censorship attempts. So how long before this site gets blocked too? To be sure they have put up all their content on http://peoplesmarch.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com] as well. Planning to block this one too? They have the content stored somewhere on their hard disk and they'll put it up on a thousand free sites. There's also http://naxalrevolution.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] and many more.

The most illustrative case of Internet censorship in India is that of Hinduunity.org, which, though run from the US by one Rohit Vyasmaan, claims to be the official website of the Bajrang Dal. The Hindu Unity site posts anti-Muslim hate speech, creative interpretation of Qur'anic verses and most famously, a "hit list" of those who it says are against Hindus. The hit list has on it not just leftist columnists but also people and organisations who in India would be regarded as being somewhat sympathetic to Hindutva. Lalu Prasad Yadav is listed for "swindling Gau-chara's money"!

In 2001, the site's then host in the US, Addr.com, received complaints about the site. Vyasmaan told Addr.com that his site did not advocate violence, but they shut down the site anyway for its very obvious hate speech. As it happened, Hinduunity.org was then rescued by Rabbi Meir's Kahane group, a banned Zionist organisation in the US. Hinduunity now advocates "Hindu militancy" on its site, and heavily aligns with the anti-Palestine cause. No wonder it is block in countries of the Middle East as well.

Hinduunity.org was first blocked by India in 2004, when the NDA was in power and when the site was calling Atal Bihari Vajpayee names for 'catching the pseudo-secularism bug'. Curiously, in July 2006 the DoT again asked for the site to be blocked. Why would they want to block an already blocked site? Hinduunity.org, which has a number of articles against Sonia Gandhi, responded by calling it a conspiracy of "hijra Manmohan Singh".

They have now created a mirror site at Hinduunity.com.

Which is the problem with Internet censorship: few would defend the right to free speech of Naxalite, Maoist or Hindutva organisations that advocate violence, but blocking them is futile because they'll move elsewhere. Note the word 'blocking' because you can't 'ban' anything on the Net.

The right to free speech in India's Constitution comes with the caveat of "reasonable restrictions". Although the IT Act 2000 has no provision for blocking websites, the Department of Information Technology made it possible vide Gazette Notification GSR 529 (E) dated 7 July 2003. It said, "Websites promoting hate content, slander or defamation of others, promoting gambling, promoting racism, violence and terrorism and other such material, in addition to promoting pornography, including child pornography, and violent sex can easily be blocked since all such websites may not claim constitutional right of free speech. Blocking of such websites may be equated to balanced flow of information and not censorship."

Which doesn't sound very objectionable: just that the Gazette notification has no provision of informing the public, via press releases or otherwise, as to which site is being blocked and why. Censorship of books and films happens all the time in India: most recently, the Haryana state government has banned one Prakash Madan's Mahatma Gandhi: A Curse for Bharat. The difference is that when books and films are banned people get to know about it, there is the opportunity that reasonable public debate may prevail over "reasonable restrictions".

Authorities like intelligence agencies, the Home Secreatry, Home Secretaries of the states have to first ask the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) to block a site. CERT-IN then forwards 'genuine' requests to the DoT which issues orders to ISPs. The Gazette notification says that CERT-IN will maintain utmost secrecy about the matter. The idea of conducting internet censorship clandestinely seems to serve only one purpose: preventing a public furore. It has always been so: in 1999, when the government got the website of the Pakistani newspaper Dawn blocked in view if the Kargil war, nobody would ever have got to know had journalist Siddharth Varadarajan not discovered it per chance. Part of the problem is that when you visit a blocked website in India, it gives you Error 404 - 'Page Not Found' - leading you to think that the site may be down. In China, the webpage would read 'blocked'; in Saudi Arabia it would also give you an email ID where you can petition the government to unblock that site. In democratic India, it is chori chori, chupkay chupkay.

When the blocking has come out in the open, it has been due to the incompetence of the Internet Service Providers who find it technically easier to block entire domains - succh as blogspot.com or geocities.com - rather than sub-domain sites hosted on them.

China and Middle East block sites in order to suppress political or social dissent. Website blocking in India, on the other hand, is driven by nation security-related paranoia, or hate speech that may lead to violence. The mai-baap state must save its citizens from propaganda of both the extreme right and the extreme left. Just that none of the sites blocked have been proved to have cause violence: the PWG website on Geocities did call for killing Chandrababu Naidu and other politicians in 2002, but they went ahead with their plans and tried to do so anyway, website or no website.

ERROR 404: THESE PAGES ARE NOT FOR YOU

Internet telephony: The sites clickatell.com and hotfoon.com allow you to send sms-es and make calls via the internet. There are many more such sites that are not blocked, and which can be used by terrorist outfits to communicate without allowing Indian agencies to monitor them. The DoT could not even spell Clickatell correctly in their order, but ISPs have blocked it anyway. Clickatell is a large multinational organisation which clarified to this reporter that if their platform has been used by third parties to deliver unlawful messages, their own technology enables us to track down any offenders. Hotfoon.com is run by an NRI, Anil Raj, and its India operations are said to be running out of Hyderabad. Mr Raj did not respond to this reporter's query.

Dalit separatism: www.dalitstan.org (again spelled incorrectly in the DoT order!) is currently down. It advocates the creation of several separate nations from India including a Dalit homeland. The site has most probably been blocked on the request of Hindu advocacy organisations in the US and Canada.

Chinese checkers: commonfolkcommonsense.blogspot.com is a Chinese blog with barely a few posts - and that too in Mandarin!

Hindutva sites: Hinduunity.org and Hinduhumanrights.org. They may have some hate content but there has been no proven case of these sites inciting violence. Whereas Hinduunity talks of militant Hindutva, Hinduhumanrights.org's primary focus is on projecting Hindus as martyrs. www.rahulyadav.com, the website of a grad student in the US, has been blocked for its Hindutva sub-site, www.rahulyadav.com/hb, which he has by now shifted to www.hindurashtra.org.

Pornography: They haven't yet turned to pornography, except for www.sex.in, which is down anyway, and is registered in the name of one Frank Becker.

American right-wing sites: princesskimberly.blogspot.com (misspelled in the DoT order), mypetjawa.mu.nu, pajamaeditors.blogspot.com, exposingtheleft.blogspot.com, thepiratescove.us, bamapachyderm.com, merrimusings.typepad.com, mackers-world.com. Most of these are blogs that have nothing to do with India, and have anti-Muslim hate speech in varying degrees. It's the sort of Islamophobia that is routine in a post-9/11 America and the West, and the sort of which was best exemplified in the furore over the Danish cartoons that depicted Prophet Mohammed. They have responded with a mix of amusement and anger at being blocked in India. Merrimusings has now shifted to http://www.merrimusings.mu.nu/ [merrimusings.mu.nu] and proudly proclaims, "Banned in India". Trouble is, there are thousands more such websites. The Princess Kimberly blog did write a post once called "Infidel Puppies vs. Quran Woof" but when the blocking order came the blog had just two posts about living a depressed life.

Websites that doesn't even exist! www.nndh.com, bloodroyaltriped.com, imagesearchyahoo.com, www.imamali8.com. These URLs are dead and only the DoT mandarins can explain why they were blocked. The blocking of harmless, dead URLs which have no content whatsoever, and without telling the public why they are being blocked, indicates a ham-handedness that is scary because they can block any website any time, without being answerable.

BYPASS

You can still access blocked websites through RSS readers, Google caches, or by using anonymisers that let you surf via internet connections hosted outside India. These include:
http://www.translate.google.com/ [google.com]
http://www.hidemyass.com/ [hidemyass.com]
http://surf-free-anonymous-proxy.com/ [surf-free-...-proxy.com]
http://www.shadowsurf.com/ [shadowsurf.com]
http://www.inblogs.net/ [inblogs.net]
http://www.pkblogs.com/ [pkblogs.com]
http://tools.superhit.in/ [superhit.in]
http://www.browseatwork.com/ [browseatwork.com]
http://httproxy.mozdev.org/ [mozdev.org] (Firefox extension)
http://www.ninjaproxy.com/ [ninjaproxy.com]
http://www.shysurfer.com/ [shysurfer.com]
http://anonymouse.org/ [anonymouse.org]

Or download softwares such as http://webaccelerator.google.com/ [google.com] or http://torpark.nfshost.com/ [nfshost.com]

Re:Article Text (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349555)

Clandestine blocking isn't nice, but it's probably not exclusive to India either. When 4chan.org [slashdot.org]'s /b/ board got onto the Internet Watch Foundation's list of banned sites (supposed to be only for child porn sites, and filtered by several UK ISPs - a law has been passed that will eventually require all UK ISPs to block the sites on the list), allegedly certain UK ISPs (BT and NTL) used stealth blocking techniques such as fake 404s and redirecting to the site's own "banned" message. (Incidentally, the IWF apparently denied that the site was on their list - the only reason I could confirm that it was is that Google uses the list too, and they block sites more visibly [google.com].) As far as I can tell, all this got absolutely no media attention whatsoever, so it's hard to point to good sources for the information.

Re:Interesting conincidence_ (3, Insightful)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348771)

After all, what better way to control a population than to deprive the people of information, particularly information that reflects badly on the government? Anyone want to start a pool about when this begins here in the U.S.?

Apparently, it's working quite well already.

~X~

Re:Interesting conincidence_ (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351811)

The information about the government has always been restricted by the government itself. Think about it. They make lots of decisions, have lots of information, and short, infrequent press conferences. With an excess of info and a lack of information channels, they have to choose what you hear. And when they neglect to mention something that makes them look bad, I forgive them. I enjoy my privacy too.

Re:Interesting conincidence_ (1)

Kongming (448396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348785)

"...what better way to control a population than to deprive the people of information..."

Easy. Provide the people with an overabundance of bad information. Then each individual will believe the "facts" that correspond to their previously held beliefs/alliegances. They will naturally tend to polarize, and will then be easily manipulated into taking sides in simulated "conflicts" that happen to solidify or increase the political power of both sides of the issue.

We can see this pattern to an extent right now in the U.S. I don't necessarily believe that there are conspiricies to operate according to this type of power structure, but it can come about anyway because it is a stable system and tends to persist once created.

Re:Interesting conincidence_ (1)

morleron (574428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350537)

An interesting idea. However, I think that Occam's Razor probably comes down on the side of blocking information as it's easier to do that than it is to create false information. However, you do have a good point because people who aren't able to think critically and don't really know how to do research (both things that our "education system" is very bad at) can certainly be misled by being encouraged to believe that information that comes from "your side" of an argument is always true, while that from the "other side" is always wrong. To a degree everyone does this as there is simply too much information readily available, as of now, to be able to review all of it. Add into the mix the "hey, look over here I'm right" folks such as Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart and it makes it easier (and more socially acceptable) to apply these pre-made filters than it is to engage one's critical thinking capability and derive one's own conclusions.

I think that the only way we'll ever be able to tell if this sort of clandestine filtering is being done in the U.S. is via indirect analysis of the information available. When the point is reached that those who oppose a given government policy are forced to rely on conjecture, as opposed to being able to supply facts to bolster their position, while the opposite side has all the information they need, then I think we'll be able to conclude that the flow of information is being deliberately manipulated. We haven't reached that point, nor are we close to it, but the government can apply the same strategy to the restriction of information flow that they've so successfully applied to the destruction of our civil liberties: the "death of a thousand cuts", by which information will slowly be reduced until only the government's point of view is heard. It's a lengthy process, but potentially very effective. I think that we may already be seeing the start of it as the government fails to abide by its own laws about things such as the DHS's report on privacy which is supposed to be filed on an annual basis and which hasn't been filed this year, though it is several months late http://www.epic.org/privacy/pdf/Letter_0926.pdf/ [epic.org]. All that has to be done is for the government to make it painful enough (to get information) that most people won't go to the trouble of asking and they will have taken another step towards greater information control.

Just my $.02 (they do add up after a while),
Ron

Re:Interesting conincidence_ (1)

anon101 (972986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349909)

Anyone want to start a pool about when this begins here in the U.S.?

How are you going to tell when it happens? If they leave enough varied sites on the web people may not notice the extrme ones that they are filtering.

Yes if tommorrow the removed /. from existance I would notice (sooner or later), if however they modified all /. pages and removed certian articles, how would I know? Unless of course I viewed the page from outside the filter (or routed the request securely via a machine outside the filter (see VPN or tor)).

How do I know its not been filtered since I started using the internet. There may be a similar more radical /. focused on religion, If I had never known of its existance how would I notice that its disappeared?

To detect filtering you would need to make a request from multipule locations, and not just 2, if the whole of Europe where secretly filtering content then making my requests from the UK, Germany and France would yield the same results.

Of course one could look for inconsitancies on the web, i.e. one site you can access points to a site you can't.
How many times have you found a broken link? Its probably not censorship but you never know.
If your secretly filtering something your not going to stick up a webpage in its place with "Sorry you can't view this page, we are secretly filtering it (please don't tell anyone)", much better to use a 404, make the person think the page has been removed instead (and yes I know a removed page is supposed to be 410 thank you very much!)

Of course I am not saying that my Government is conducting these actions, just speculating how it could happen without my knowledge.

This may sound like a conspiricy theory, however it is theoretically possible and while I do not currently believe it is happenin I may be wrong.


On a related note, perhaps someone with knowledge of China could tell me how many of its internet using population know they are being filtered?

Not necessarily bad (2, Insightful)

nbharatvarma (784546) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348423)

This need not necessarily be bad. I am an Indian and I am living in Hyderabad. Some politicians regularly instigate people against each other on religious or caste basis (e.g. Muslims against Hindus, Hindus against Christians etc. or within Hindus, across upper and lower castes). Since India is unique in that there is representation of almost every major religion in the world, some politicians or people close to them try to use this to create unrest (in extreme cases, riots) and try to use it for some upcoming elections or something like that.

We don't have problems with corporates trying to pry our fundamental rights as yet by controlling the government because the state has very good representation from every sort of background instead of just one party. But for the same reason, we have other problems.

I am pretty sure that from the way things are done in India correctly, there is no way the government can do anything reduce our fundemental rights. There are too many cross-checks for that.

Re:Not necessarily bad (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348455)

"Since India is unique in that there is representation of almost every major religion in the world..."

That's weird, I thought unique meant one-of-a-kind. But, and I'm not trying to be smug here, I always thought the United States of America had representation of almost every major religion in the world too... possibly as much or more than India?

Anyway, that point aside, I generally liked your post.

TLF

Re:Not necessarily bad (1)

Vishal (29839) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349075)

"That's weird, I thought unique meant one-of-a-kind. But, and I'm not trying to be smug here, I always thought the United States of America had representation of almost every major religion in the world too... possibly as much or more than India?"

In India the President is Muslim, the Prime Minister is Sikh, the leader of the majority party is a Catholic woman and the country is majority Hindu. I think the US has a long ways to go before anything remotely close is seen. Representation means a lot more than existence I would say.

-Vishal

Re:Not necessarily bad (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349545)

"Since India is unique in that there is representation of almost every major religion in the world..."

You didn't clearly specify that representation meant "governmental officials of that religion", hence the confusion.

As far as representation in the population, U.S. wins that one. As far as gov reps: Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Unitarian, Scientologist, Quaker, Unspecified...

Don't get all high and mighty.

http://www.adherents.com/adh_congress.html#109 [adherents.com]

Re:Not necessarily bad (2, Informative)

aquiltar (771588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349791)

Yes, but someone Jewish or Muslim might see Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Orthodox Unitarian and Quaker as being nearly the same. And will you deny that Christian sects don't feel some kind of unity as Christians versus non-Christians, us versus them? There are sects and castes among Hindus too, and if you really want me to draw an analogy between the sects of Christianity and those of Hinduism (and the intra-religious conflicts), I will. But people don't tout the government representation of various sects as some kind of diversity. America is about 80% Christian, 1% Jewish, 10% other. The religious conflict in the country is mostly about anti-Islam and anti-Judaism -- both groups are in a severe minority, and Muslims are in a power-minority, and you _don't_ see people commiting arson and murder out of religious hate. 80% of Indians are Hindu, but there is a 14% Muslim population, with a strong history of Hindu-Muslim conflict. The fact that India has a Muslim president when there are religious riots on a very regular basis is hence a lot more significant than a Jew taking on a comparable post in the US.

Re:Not necessarily bad (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351171)

America is about 80% Christian, 1% Jewish, 10% other. The religious conflict in the country is mostly about anti-Islam and anti-Judaism -- both groups are in a severe minority, and Muslims are in a power-minority, and you _don't_ see people commiting arson and murder out of religious hate.

Religious hate between different parts of Christianity is common in the USA. Arson and murder does happen. Think about the bombing of abortion clinics. Most of us think our countries are unique in some way. we are more alike than we think.

Re:Not necessarily bad (0, Troll)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350025)

Indians always remind me of those godawful Brits and NewZealanders (a bunch of snotty pips). Anyways, there are plenty of connections between the Moonies (Unification Church) and the Bush family here in Amerika. I'll bet they don't have the Moonies over in India land.....

Re:Not necessarily bad (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350749)

>As far as representation in the population, U.S. wins that one. As far as gov reps: Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Unitarian, Scientologist, Quaker, Unspecified...

Think again; you're basically saying that there are Jewish, Christian and 'unspecified'. That's *three*. Sorry, but different sects of the christian faith are still *christian*.

If we had buddhists, muslims and pagans as representatives also, THEN we would be on a par with india; but at this point, we don't.

Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348449)

"extreme right and extreme left"

It's coming from the left, not the right.

In America... (0, Offtopic)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348537)

The Extreme Left and Extreme Right should should French Kiss themselves to death to let the Extreme Moderates run this country. The World would be better off.

Extreme? (0)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348937)

The Extreme Left and Extreme Right

The problem you face there is that, in the US, you don't seem to have "extreme left". I hear very little "middle left", or whatever it is called, on /.

There is plenty evidence of liberalism here. This is not left wing though. Liberalism is the open minded half-way house between the left and the right. Anything to the right of that is by definition right of centre.

Indian Govt. is not an Ad media (1)

escay (923320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348611)

It could also be that the Indian Govt. is blocking sites in a clandestine fashion to prevent unduly publicising such inflammatory sites. FTFA, blocking a particular site will only make the webmasters move the site elsewhere, because there's no such thing as a 'ban' in the internet. now, if the indian govt. were to inform the public that they blocked www.badpropaganda.org, it will only make more people take notice of the site, google for it and read it wherever it is (certainly) moved to.

I do respect the counter-argument that questions the indian govt.'s peremptory authority to decide which site is bad propaganda and which isn't, but this is one of those problems for which there is no single solution that makes everyone happy - I'd rather not have the govt. advertise a hitherto unknown radical outfit and give it more audience than it can muster for itself. On the other side of the spectrum, if the site was really that popular, there would be enough hue-and-cry to drag the censorship out into the open for public discussion.

not anymore he hasn't! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348633)

Unable to connect

Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at www.shivamvij.com.

Site down, please change link! (0, Redundant)

nooyi86 (1010541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348773)

The site went down because of slashdotting. Can slashdot authors please edit the story in order to change the link to http://www.mirrordot.org/stories/f63b1c65d3036adaf 76721715b4c96ba/index.html [mirrordot.org] ? Yes, it's at Tehelka's site too, but it's a much paired-down version and does not have the second section which lists and categorises sites that are blocked.

Re:Site down, please change link! (0, Offtopic)

nooyi86 (1010541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349531)

Can this change please be made?

Inflammatory wording (0)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349291)

I dislike people yelling "censorship" or "piracy" then they really mean banning or unauthorized copying. The exaggeration merely betrays how weak they know thier case is.

India has a right (and perhaps legal duty) to prevent undesireable material from entering the country. The Internet is not a free pass around Customs.

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

l0cust (992700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349625)

India has a right (and perhaps legal duty) to prevent undesireable material from entering the country. The Internet is not a free pass around Customs.
India != A small group in power.
The key words are clandestine usage and abuse. Think about it before you let the defensive posture get the better of your senses.

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350079)

Last I checked, India was a "democracy", which implies a certain level of legitimacy for the denizens of it's power structures. Of course that also means that an oscillating half or more people object to government actions. If a pleurality of Indians really didn't want any govt meddling in a given area, they'd make it unconstitutional. No griping over targets when meddling is accepted.

As for "clandestine", there are multiple interpretations possible. As a rule, Customs does not announce seizures unless they're very large. Mostly I think to preserve the privacy of the offenders. Perhaps also to reduce advertising and copycatting. Oversight would be handled by whatever mechanisms in place.

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

nooyi86 (1010541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350129)

blocking of sites is not censorship? what is censorship?

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350301)

Ah, glad you asked: censorship is mutilation of a work of art to remove elements the censor deems undesireable while substantially preserving the rest of the work.

The FCC practices censorship by extortion on radio licencees. They have to air songs with the expletives deleted.

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

nooyi86 (1010541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350499)

The definition of censorship is not that narrow:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship [wikipedia.org]

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350599)

The wiki is a useful source, but hardly definitive, especially on controversial items. I agree the term "censorship" is abused, much as "piracy" in a software context is.

Please check a more traditional source of defintions, like a print dictionary.

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

nooyi86 (1010541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350813)

bah! who wants to argue whether or not blocking websites is censorship!

Re:Inflammatory wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16351705)

As noted, India is still a democracy - which means freedom of speech and an implied freedom of thought.

Somehow it always seems that the extreme left/right stress too much on the freedom of speech, thereby completely ignoring the freedom of thought. In such cases, moves like these are not only justified, but also required.

- Left liberal Indian.

Re:Inflammatory wording (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351747)

"They have to air songs with the expletives deleted."

No, they don't. They can choose to not air them at all.

"The FCC practices censorship by extortion on radio licencees."

Extortion? Are you sure that word properly expresses what you're trying to say?

The airwaves belong to the people, all of the people, which means that there has to be a way for them to be shared. That's why broadcasters are granted a license to operate "in the public interest", not just granted a license because they outbid everyone else, or because they're willing to lease the spectrum from the government, and then left free to use that spectrum anyway they want.

Re:Inflammatory wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16351103)

I dislike people yelling "censorship" or "piracy" then they really mean banning or unauthorized copying.

Up your ass with your likes and dislikes. If someone writes me a letter or if I make a FOIA request and the innformation reaches me with parts blacked out or if I'm told I can't look at any of it because the government doesn't want me to, that's censorship -- pure and simple.

If India does similarly with parts or all of a website, it's censorship -- pure and simple.

Beware those who try to water down terms already clearly defined, like censorship or torture.

The government always tries to push the "If you have nothing to hide,...." bullshit on us.

So why does Bush still get to define the details of what constitutes torture? Why does the army have to comply with the new guidelines? Why is the CIA exempt. Why does the law retroactively make these people exempt from prosecution?

What does my government have to hide?

FBI's indymedia censorship (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349873)

India, in most cases only blocks access to the alleged hate-speech sites within the country and they don't go after the site owners and make arrests. On one instance, the US FBI on the other hand even went to the extent of seizing the Rackspace servers of Independent Media Center(IMC) in the UK, on a request from Italian and swiss governments.

http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/111999.shtml [indymedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indymedia#.28Alleged. 29_Seizure_of_servers_by_the_FBI [wikipedia.org]
http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Indymedia/ [eff.org]

No problem (1)

bingo_cannon (779085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350095)

I haven't found any problem with the "blocking" so far. The govt. doesn't block domains, its the stupid ISPs and the spelling mistakes are because of the tranlation, sound-to-words. The babu [govt. officer] who takes this down [for issuing a memo/circular] doesnt go that site and check it out!! I just wish they would make morons who make similar statements disappear!! I wish... ~Indian

Hate Speech or Justified Paranoia? (1)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351937)

The article mentions some of the (I think it was 19?) blogs that were recently banned in India. These include "The Jawa Report", "Merri Musings", and "My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" (bamapachyderm.com). It says that they "have anti-Muslim hate speech in varying degrees".

That's not entirely accurate.

The Jawa Report is an anti-Islamist blog, and undoubtedly would be offensive to some Muslims.

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy isn't focused on Islamism to the same degree, but does comment on it.

Merri Musings barely touches on the subject.

But there's one thing they all have in common, along with "Princess Kimberly" and a number of the other banned sites: After the (false) story of the Koran-in-a-toilet at Gitmo came out, and the rioting and deaths that followed in the Islamic world, they all posted photoshopped images of a Koran in a toilet.

So if you want to get banned in India, you know what you have to do.
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