Indian government orders ISPs to block 857 porn websites

Some Internet service providers are still in the process of implementing the order issued late Friday

The Indian government has ordered a large number of porn websites to be blocked, creating an uproar among users and civil rights groups in the country.

The Department of Telecommunications has issued orders for the blocking of 857 websites serving pornography, said two persons familiar with the matter, who declined to be named.

Section 69 (A) of India's Information Technology Act allows the government to order blocking of public access to websites and other information through computer resources, though this section appears to be designed to be invoked when a threat is perceived to the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order.

"The government cannot on its own block private access to pornography under current statutes," said Pranesh Prakash, policy director of the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore. "Parliament has not authorized the government to ban porn on its own."

"However, courts have in the past ordered specific websites to be blocked for specific offences such as defamation, though as far as I know not for obscenity," Prakash added.

Viewing pornography privately is not a crime in the country, though its sale and distribution is an offense.

Some porn websites were still accessible through certain Internet service providers on Monday, as some ISPs took some time to implement the order. "All the 857 websites will be blocked by all ISPs today," said a source in the ISP industry, who requested anonymity. "As licensees we have to follow the orders."

The government could not be immediately reached for comment.

Reports of the blocks created a furore among Internet users in the country, who criticized the move on Reddit, Twitter and other social media.

India's Supreme Court struck down in March as unconstitutional an Internet law that provided for the arrest of people sending online messages considered offensive or menacing. But it upheld Section 69 (A) in that same ruling, which it described as a "narrowly drawn provision" limited to a few subjects.

In a public interest lawsuit on the blocking of pornography, the Supreme Court last month declined to issue an interim order that would block porn websites at the request of the private litigant, according to a report.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags India Department of TelecommunicationsCentre for Internet and Societyregulationgovernmentinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?