Indian government wants to screen Microsoft, Google, and other services

You might want to reconsider posting if you're Indian and outraged at this news, since the Indian government has requested the ability to screen user content on two of the internet's biggest sites, as the New York Times reports.

On Monday afternoon, top executives with Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are meeting with Kapil Sibal, the Indian Minister for Telecommunications and Human Resources Development, or so a tip from two executives has said. The executives have requested anonymity as they are not legally obliged to talk about the meeting. Kapil Sibal's office has confirmed the meeting with Internet executives will take place on Monday but ia remaining tight-lipped beyond this.

An executive who was briefed on a meeting said that Mr. Sibal met with legal executives and key players in Facebook at his New Delhi office. At the meeting, Sibal drew attention to a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party president, Sonia Gandhi. He told the executives it was "unacceptable", and asked for methods of monitoring what has been posted on the site.

The executives went on to say that Kapil Sibal has asked for a proactive pre-screening system, though that those invited are going to attempt to argue that it is not possible due to the volume of content on both sites coming from India alone. Google alone has over 100,000,000 users in India, and Facebook said earlier this year it had around 25,000,000 users in India alone, so the volume of content must be massive on both sites.

This is not the first time the Indian government has tried to control the availability of information on the internet. In April, the government attempted to demand ISPs delete information posted on websites that was deemed dangerous. Last year they threatened to cut off access to BlackBerry services unless Research In Motion gave them the right to access messages sent from BlackBerry devices.

The city of Mumbai has its own unit for countering freedom online. The unit monitors Facebook, Orkut and other websites on the Internet for content that could be considered inflammatory to their interests. Since January and June of 2011, the Indian government has requested seventy-two different results to be removed from Google's results, which is the third highest of all countries. First is Brazil, with an astounding 224 requests for deletion.

Thank you ilovetech for the tip!

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