India cracks down on Internet over migrant exodus

Aug 21, 2012
The 'Facebook' logo is reflected in a young Indian woman's sunglasses as she browses on a tablet in Bangalore on May 15. dia has demanded social networking websites take down provocative messages and has blocked some online content after anonymous threats sparked an exodus of migrants from several cities.

India has demanded social networking websites take down provocative messages and blocked some online content after anonymous threats sparked an exodus of migrants from southern cities.

Tens of thousands of workers and students from the remote northeast region returned home last week from Bangalore, Mumbai and other cities fearing attacks from Muslims in reprisal for recent ethnic clashes in the state of Assam.

The has said many of the Internet posts, fake video clips and phone messages spreading rumours of plans to target migrants were sent from arch-rival Pakistan.

The Ministry of Communications said late Monday that an order had been issued on August 17 but that "such inflammatory and harmful content continued to appear on the ".

It added the government was meeting with representatives of the sites to curb the content, and it stressed that "a lot more and quicker action is expected from them to address such a sensitive issue".

issued a statement on Tuesday saying any content intended to incite violence was already prohibited on its products, including YouTube videos.

"We understand the gravity of the situation... and continue to work closely with relevant authorities," it said in response to the government's demands.

Officials declined to name which other sites were affected, while and were not immediately available for comment.

The government also said 245 web pages had been blocked, declining to give further details.

Asked whether sites were being used to whip up ethnic tension, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters: "We have got sufficient evidence. The whole process is in investigation mode."

Local media reports estimated that over 35,000 people fled cities including Bangalore and Mumbai over the last week, packing special trains arranged to carry panicked students and workers back to the northeast.

Weeks of clashes in Assam between members of the Bodo tribal community and Muslims have claimed at least 80 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people.

The government says it is willing to share proof that much of the inflammatory Internet activity originated from Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Bulk text messages have been temporarily banned in India to halt the spread of threats and rumours of reprisals.

Explore further: ICANN chief stepping down in early 2016

Related Stories

Anonymous says it hacked Chinese government sites

Apr 05, 2012

(AP) -- China was struggling Thursday to restore several government websites that international hacking group Anonymous says it attacked in an apparent protest against Chinese Internet restrictions.

Google, Facebook remove content on India's order

Feb 06, 2012

Google India has removed web pages deemed offensive to Indian political and religious leaders to comply with a court case that has raised censorship fears in the world's largest democracy, media reported Monday.

Pakistan lifts Facebook ban after page removed

May 31, 2010

(AP) -- Pakistan lifted a ban on Facebook on Monday after officials from the social networking site apologized for a page deemed offensive to Muslims and removed its contents, a top information technology official said.

Pakistan blocks Twitter over contentious tweets

May 20, 2012

(AP) -- Pakistan blocked the social networking website Twitter for much of Sunday because it refused to remove tweets considered offensive to Islam, said one of the country's top telecommunications officials.

Pakistan scans Google, other sites for blasphemy

Jun 25, 2010

(AP) -- Pakistan will monitor seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, to block anti-Islamic links and content, an official said Friday. Seventeen lesser-known sites are being blocked outright for alleged blasphemous ...

Recommended for you

ICANN chief stepping down in early 2016

22 hours ago

The head of the group that oversees all Internet addresses will step down early next year, after a plan to end US oversight of the key nonprofit organization.

How alternative currencies could catch on and cash in

May 21, 2015

Alternatives to cash, like Bitcoin and Uber, may never replace the coins in our pockets or paper bills in our wallets, but they are creating significant social and economic impacts, and with some design adjustments, ...

Spotify introduces video, radio service

May 20, 2015

While saying that it is still a music company at heart, Spotify says it is expanding its lineup to include podcasts, news radio and video streaming.

For US allies, paradigm shift in intelligence collection

May 20, 2015

Fearful of an expanding extremist threat, countries that for years have relied heavily on U.S. intelligence are quickly building up their own capabilities with new technology, new laws and—in at least one ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.