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No porn please, we’re Indian

india Updated: Jan 08, 2010 11:48 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

India may be the second most populous nation on earth, but the world feels Indians aren’t ready for sex yet. Several Internet companies have put filters in their websites to prevent users in India from accessing sexual content through them. Yahoo’s popular photo-sharing site, Flickr, last month changed its settings to prevent Indians from browsing for explicit images on it.

So a search for such pictures on the site now shows a message, “This (SafeSearch preference) does not apply if your Yahoo! ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong, India or Korea.” Similarly, a search for porn content on Bing, the Microsoft’s search engine, says, “Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might return adult content.”

This is said to have been undertaken to meet the changes in India’s Information Technology Act of 2000, which bars the publication of pornographic material. Last year, the reach of the Act was widened to include cyber cafes, Internet service providers and search engines. Failure in disabling access to ‘obscene’ content carries a fine upto Rs 5,00,000 and a three-year imprisonment.

The change isn’t going down well with net users. “Imagine if Google, too, bars access to what it feels is obscene as per the government,” says BPO executive Anu Jain. “Does the government think we can never behave responsibly?” asks Sid Kapoor, a student.

The more savvy are finding ways. On Bing, for instance, just change the country setting from India to, say, Latvia, and bingo... life goes on.

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