Internet service providers refuse to enable any 'banned' porn website | india | Hindustan Times
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Internet service providers refuse to enable any 'banned' porn website

The government’s efforts to block more than 850 pornographic websites has been tangled up in knots, with internet service providers (ISPs) refusing to “disable” any of the portals because they are confused by the order issued by authorities.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2015 00:18 IST
M Rajendran
The-Internet-Service-Providers-Association-of-India-ISPAI-has-now-decided-to-approach-the-communications-ministry-to-seek-clarification-on-the-definition-of-pornography-and-child-pornography-and-the-parameters-that-violate-it-Shutterstock
The-Internet-Service-Providers-Association-of-India-ISPAI-has-now-decided-to-approach-the-communications-ministry-to-seek-clarification-on-the-definition-of-pornography-and-child-pornography-and-the-parameters-that-violate-it-Shutterstock

Internet service providers on Wednesday refused to unblock any of the 857 pornographic websites subjected to a government ban but later restricted to sites containing child pornography, saying they were confused by the order and unable to identify offenders.

The department of telecommunications directed service providers on July 31 to disable the websites under provisions of the Information Technology Act and the Constitution, triggering a debate on the curtailment of personal liberties and leading to accusations that the directive impinged on the right of grown-up citizens to view adult entertainment material in the privacy of their homes.

After the uproar, the department told service providers they were free not to disable any of the websites that did not feature child pornography. The onus of detecting which websites featured child pornography was placed on the service providers, experts said.

Read | Meet Kamlesh Vaswani, the lawyer behind India's porn ban

“We submit that direction given is very vague and un-implementable … we urge you to withdraw the said directive as it is not only confusing but also putting responsibility on ISPs (internet service providers) on which ISPs does not have control," a letter to the telecom secretary from Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), said.

The association with more than 50 members, including telecom service providers, has decided not to enable any of the banned sites. “… till further directive (from the government) the ISPs are keeping said 857 URLs disabled,” the letter said.

Read | How a porn website is trolling Indian government over ban

Chharia said as sites or content owners could change the material on display any moment without any information to internet service providers, the government should name the URLs to be blocked.

Telecom secretary Rakesh Garg told HT he had not received any communication from the ISPAI. "I cannot comment unless I see it," he said.

The ISPAI while reiterating that its members were against online child pornography and abuse of women said, “ISPs have no way or mechanism to filter out child pornography from URLs and further unlimited sublinks of the said URLs in different names.”

Read | Govt blocks over 800 porn websites, more under review