India asks Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook to censor the web

The Indian government has asked Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory user content about politicians before it goes online and punters realise what a bunch of corrupt losers they vote for.

Kapil Sibal, India’s acting telecommunications minister has summoned top executives from the leading tech outfits to a communion around his drinks cabinet.

Apparently Sibal thinks that the internet is full of people insulting each other and defamatory posts and he thinks it would be better if the big four censored everything.

With censorship, people can go back to loving one another as they did in the Gita. Well, the bits of the Gita that didn’t involve chopping people’s heads off with circular shaped buzz saws hurled from chariots by creatures with elephant’s heads.

The executives were expected to tell Sibal and his drinks cabinet that such a demand was impossible given the volume of user-generated content coming from India. The argument goes that there is so much material coming out from India they could not be responsible for determining what was and was not defamatory or disparaging.

The only way to censor the net is if there is a law, and a court order on something in specific.

Companies cannot be in the business of deciding whether something is legal to post, the execs say.

However, in an earlier meeting with Facebook, Sibal’s motives became fairly obvious when he revealed that someone amongst India’s huge population had put up a page which maligned the Congress Party’s Sonia Gandhi as not fit for the job because she was married to murdered Rajiv Gandhi. Nor is it fair to say that Rajiv only got the job because his mum was murdered, nor is it right to say that his mum Indra got the job because she took the married name of an assassinated Indian saint. Apparently it is wrong to say that there is any nepotism in the Congress party.

According to the Economic Times, he said that it was “unacceptable” for anyone to say anything bad about Rajiv Gandhi’s missus and it should be obvious that slagging off politicians on the internet should be against the law.

His view is that politicians have to be treated like gods among their people and it is up to the internet companies to help them do this.

Sibal told them he expected them to set up a screening system, with staff members looking for what he found as objectionable content and deleting it before it was posted.