India porn ban: Govt blocks over 60 additional websites

30 September, 2022 | Pranay Lad

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More than 60 websites that contain pornographic content have been ordered blocked by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The judgements from two High Courts, as well as violations of the In...

More than 60 websites that contain pornographic content have been ordered blocked by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The judgements from two High Courts, as well as violations of the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021, provide the foundation for the orders.

The DoT has urged Internet service providers to ban 67 such websites in four letters, 63 of which are based on a Pune court’s decision and four of which are based on the Uttarakhand High Court’s 2018 ruling and the Ministry of Electronics and IT’s directives (MeitY).

According to a DoT order dated September 24, “MeitY has directed to immediately take down (block) theā€¦ websites/URLs in accordance with the said (Uttarakhand High Court) order read along with rule 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and in light of certain obscene material available in the below-mentioned website that tarnish the image of women’s modesty.

Internet service providers are required to remove or prevent access to anything they host, store, or publish that “shows such individual in full or partial nudity or portrays or represents such individual in any sexual act or activity,” according to the clause of the IT Rules 2021 cited by MeitY.

However, it’s generally accepted that the clause stated by the government applies when retaliation pornography is posted without the owner’s permission. It’s unclear if the government’s recent move was in response to complaints from particular people whose private photographs had been published on these websites.

An inquiry for comment was not answered by the DoT.

More than 800 pornographic websites were temporarily blocked by the authorities in 2015, sparking a public outcry. Those websites were a part of a Supreme Court petition. The Additional Solicitor General of India ordered internet service providers to take the sites down, even though the court had not specifically imposed a ban.

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