Monday, January 16, 2012

Clean up orders from Indian Courts may signal a new global era

The Indian judiciary has started hearing cases against leading international websites for not removing objectionable content as per Indian law.

Indian Court Issues Summons to Google, Facebook Headquarters for Objectionable Content

India has a significant chunk of the online users (100m), a user base which is set to grow dramatically (350-400m by 2015) and will eventually represent a significant portion of revenue and valuation for Internet firms.

 India wants these firms to self regulate, and remove content objectionable under Indian law rather than to block this sites. Site blocking is a last option, but the China example has not been ruled out.

The initial request was made by the Indian government which was politicised as government censorship, particularly as it coincided with a nationwide anticorruption campaign. This issue has now turned into a more serious legal case in a court of law.

I believe the outcome of this case will be a trendsetter for future Internet regulation in most countries. India was also at the forefront of regulation to montor encrypted email and messenger traffic from RIM (Blackberry) to assist law enforcement prevent criminal and terrorist activity. Ironically, six months after this move the very same method was used during the London riots which British law enforcement agencies found extremely difficult to control as they could not monitor or block such instant messages. London riots: how BlackBerry Messenger played a key role

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