Google Refused to Protect Indian Politicians

India is going to drag the key players of the web industry into court, accusing them of failing to protect its corrupt politicians from being discussed on the Internet.

The Indian government has been angry that people don’t show enough respect on the Internet and wants to make it possible to filter all posts they do not like. They especially didn’t like that people were criticizing the fact that the Ghandi family was getting political jobs only because of their name, rather than experience. As a result, the Indian government told Google and Facebook to filter the web. If the web giants do it under some sort of industry agreement, people wouldn’t say that the largest democracy in the world does it.

Unsurprisingly enough, Google and Facebook have told the Asian politicians that the web is actually too big for them to filter. So India has bought charges against two online giants and 19 other companies. As a result, a lower court has required the Internet companies to filter objectionable content. Of course, all Internet outfits are currently appealing that ruling. Both Facebook and Google explained in the court that they couldn’t block offensive material that might appear on their services from time to time. Facebook and Google are only two out of 21 outfits that have been demanded to develop some tool to block objectionable content in the country.

In fact, the entire situation comes down to a new legislation drafted by the government in 2011, which makes entities responsible for user material posted on their services, demanding them to take it offline within 36 hours after receiving a complaint. According to media reports, journalist Vinay Rai has bought the case against 21 social networking services for displaying pictures considered offensive to Christians, Hindus, and Muslims.

While the government claimed it was all about keeping the different religious groups in the country away from each other, industry observers regard it as a fairly blatant attempt to stop Internet users discussing corruption, bribery and nepotism. Apparently, civil rights groups oppose the suggested legislation and both online giants have previously claimed they couldn’t and wouldn’t filter Internet content in India. Google’s lawyers explained that if they start using blocks on such words as “sex”, it will lead to the situation where the system ends up cutting government documents, including voter ID lists or passports, because they also include the word “sex”.