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Is the government trying to gag Google?

Dec 04, 2011 07:33 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Google in its transparency report claimed that the Centre asked it to remove over 250 profiles and community pages critical of the government.

The change through social media has left many a government wary and worried, including ours. Google's Transparency report says between January and June 2011, law enforcement agencies in India asked it to remove 255 communities and profiles critical of the government.

Prashant Bhushan, Member Team Anna and Lawyer, "The internet and the use of the internet by people is an exercise of the right of free speech. If the government is asking Google to pull down data critical of it, it in abuse of that right to free speech and shows the true fascist nature of the government."

Google's transparency report shows the government of India tops the list in putting in requests for removal of content falling in the category of government criticism.

Out of a total 358 items it wants blocked 255 are for criticism of the government, 39 for defamation, 20 for privacy and security, 14 for Impersonation, 8 for Hate Speech, 3 for pornography 1 for national security and 18 for other reasons.

As against India's request to remove content 255, Italy sent one request, Thailand sent 225, Turkey 16 and United States 1.

But in response to an RTI query the Department of Information Technology says only 6 government officials and 1 politician have so far made requests for 'disabling access' to certain online content under section 69A of the IT Act. Something that conflicts the Google transparency report data where the requests outnumber the ones the DIT accepts sending.

By making the data on such requests for content removal for government criticism public Google has made clear that backdoor Internet censorship for personal gains using law enforcement agencies is far from appreciated. It's for the government to answer if what virtually qualifies for gagging befits the world's largest democracy?