The government of India could look at tightening norms to regulate, what is deemed as objectionable content on social media networks and on the web. According to a Hindustan Times report, the UPA government has already requested visiting US deputy secretary for Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute for regulation of content. The report also states that if objectionable content is not curbed, then it will be forced to ask Google, Facebook, Twitter to set up local servers so as to ensure the content can be regulated.
This is not the first time that the government of India has asked for content to be routed via India in order to ensure regulation of content. Earlier this year BlackBerry maker RIM set up a dedicated India server, which would give the government access to messages from BlackBerry’s popular messaging service BBM.
According to the Indian government, the access was required for security measures as BBM messages and mails are encrypted. However this is not the only case where the government has got access. Yahoo and Gmail, were asked to route mails via India, even if the account was registered abroad.
Most recently the purported sex video of Congress leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi went viral on social media. Facebook, YouTube were used by those who spread the video and Singhvi accused organised gangs for spreading the clip and defaming him.
This is not the first time in India that social media sites have faced the heat over what the government has deemed as ‘objectionable content’. The CID recently asked Facebook to removed ‘objectionable’ pictures of West Bengal CM, Mamata Banerjee. A Jadavpur University professor was also arrested for sharing cartoons of the West Bengal Chief Minister on Facebook.
The communication minister Kapil Sibal has previously suggested a need to censor social media, a comment that backfired on him.