India porn ban partially lifted after online outrage

5 Aug 20151 Share

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India’s controversial ban on online pornography only lasted a matter of days following online outrage as well as political opposition, with one former government minister describing it as the “Talibanisation of India”.

The government had ruled only two days ago that the India porn ban would come into effect, meaning nearly 1,000 porn websites in the country were to be blocked as part of a seemingly-misguided attempt to clamp down on child pornography by temporarily shutting down access to all pornography.

The Indian government had planned to close access to pornography temporarily while they figured out a way of closing the sites showing child pornography, but its heavy-handed approach has now been reversed following significant pressure.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Indian Department of Telecommunications has informed Indian internet service providers (ISP) that they are free to unblock pornography websites, so long as they don’t contain child pornography.

Forcing ISPs to be internet police

However, it appears that many of the ISPs are not doing so over fears that they could get into legal trouble due to their lack of ability to know whether a site may indeed have illegal content.

One executive of one of these ISPs, who did not want to be named, said of the confusing ruling: “How can we go ahead? What if something comes up tomorrow [on one of these sites], which has child porn, or something else?”

Based off Google Trends, searches for pornography online have increased nearly tenfold in India since 2004, with the city of Mizoram appearing to have the highest number of searches.

India porn ban Google

Google search trends for the query ‘porn’ in India between 2004 and the present

Meanwhile, from, the political sphere, opposition to the ban and subsequent partial lifting have criticised it as being a case of moral dictation by the Indian government. One example saw former Indian telecoms minister Milind Deora tweeting that the measures were taking India “one step towards the Talibanisation of India”.

Taj Mahal image via Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com