India threatens to block Facebook, Google

If Web companies fail to block unsavory content from Web pages, India will block access to their Web sites--following in footsteps of China--but Google says filtering not possible, according to report.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

An Indian court has warned Web giants Facebook and Google that access to their Web sites will be blocked, similar to China's action, if they fail to remove objectionable content from their pages.

"Like China, we will block all such Web sites," Justice Suresh Kait from the Delhi High Court, said in a Times of India report Thursday. The judge was speaking to lawyers representing Facebook and Google India on developing a mechanism to keep checks and remove "offensive and objectionable" material from their Web pages, said the report.

According to the report, the judge did not stop legal proceedings filed against the two Web companies over inflammatory content linked to Islam, but agreed to the lawyers' plea to not press for an effective hearing in the trial court this Friday.

Google India's counsel Mukul Rohatgi defended that it was impossible for postings of "obscene, objectionable and defamatory" content to be filtered or monitored. "No human interference is possible, and moreover, it can't be feasible to check such incidents," Rohatgi said in the Times of India report. "Billions of people across the globe post their articles on the Web site. Yes, they may be defamatory [and] obscene, but [they] cannot be checked."

Last December, the Indian government demanded that Web and social media companies pre-screened user content and remove defamatory material before they are posted online. Following the announcement, India's Web users protested against the proposal.

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