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Porn ban: Govt takes a U-turn, asks ISPs to block only child porn

RAVI-SHANKAR-PRASAD

Days after its blanket ban of 857 websites deemed to be pornographic, the government climbs down from its stated position and said the ban was temporary as these sites had just been disabled and would be revoked only after the court’s verdict.

The Government directed ISPs on Tuesday to restore access to those among 857 banned porn and humour websites that did not feature child pornographic content.

“The intermediaries (ISPs) are hereby directed that they are free not to disable any of the 857 URLs… which do not have child pornographic content.”

“What we have done is temporary…. The government is acting purely on the Supreme Court observation that government needs to take stand on the issue of blocking of pornography websites in the country, especially child pornography…. Free and open access to such content is an issue,” a source close to the development was quoted as saying by The Hindu

However, Internet Service Providers Association of India criticized by saying, “How can the government put the responsibility on us to see whether a website carries child pornography or not?” Rajesh Chharia, president of the association, told TOI. “Why should an Internet service provider by punished if a website suddenly transmits child pornography?”

The government’s move to ban the porn sites took the social media by storm and met with criticisms as some called it anti-freedom, regressive and even ‘Talibanisation’ of the country..