Facebook & Google Concede to Indian Censorship

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Following closely on the recent SOPA, PIPA and ACTA debates, an Indian court has ordered 21 technology companies, including Google and Facebook, to remove content it has deemed offensive. The Indian branched of both companies have complied with the rulings and have been asked to remove certain pages deemed to be religiously, socially or otherwise morally offensive.

Gandhi Censored

As in the rest of the world, Internet policing and censorship continue to be contentious topics. In India, authorities have passed laws that require web hosts to remove illegal or inappropriate content from their servers within 36 hours of notification.

Google has long held the reputation for being an advocate of freedom of speech and resisting government censorship but recent expansion into new markets is bringing many new challenges. Both Indian branches of Google and Facebook have not yet responded publicly to this censorship order.

David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer stated on the Google blog:

"Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement.

We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced; it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China."

In the past Google has endorsed a "don’t be evil" motto that has served them well by endearing themselves to the public. Free-speech advocates have chided Google for backing down to the Indian government. Google and Facebook are not alone in the debate over internet censorship. Even Twitter has recently unveiled a system which will allow the microblogging service to block out specific pieces of content based on local government laws and regulations.

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