Net censorship not on govt's agenda at all: Pilot | india | Hindustan Times
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Net censorship not on govt's agenda at all: Pilot

The government might have blocked websites and suppressed online content in the country in the past, but former minister of state for communication and information technology Sachin Pilot said he had no desire to come down on the Internet. Bhavya Dore reports.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2012 01:39 IST
Bhavya Dore

The government might have blocked websites and suppressed online content in the country in the past, but former minister of state for communication and information technology Sachin Pilot said he had no desire to come down on the Internet.

Pilot, who gave up his previous charge earlier this week, was speaking at a panel discussion with writer technologist Ben Hammersley at the Think Conference in Goa on Friday.

"As far as India goes, we have no intention of censorship of the Internet," said Pilot. "There is no question of the Indian government siding with those countries looking to control the Net."

The government had, in August, blocked sites and accounts that were potentially inflammatory.

Speaking about the pitfalls and threats the Internet poses, including impersonation, child pornography and financial fraud, Pilot said he also had a responsibility. "As an elected member of Parliament and a member of the government, I can't not listen to those who don't have access, but are getting affected," he said.

Hammersley had words of advice for those who want to control the Internet. It may be crawling with bad content, but that's not the technology's fault. "Speech and bad things [online] are social problems, not technological. I would rather have people running a country who would want to fix the fundamental problems than resorting to censuring."

Pilot was quick to point out that these are complex issues and a balance is necessary. In the context of the panic, partly fuelled through social media rumours, with north easterners fleeing their homes and facing violence, Pilot admitted there was a problem. "It is not an Internet problem, but our problem and I feel ashamed. Just because I can't fix it on Monday morning doesn't mean I can let it get worse," he said.

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