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ISPs to block 39 websites hosting obscene content

June 26, 2013 20:28 IST

The government has ordered internet service providers in India to block 39 internet sites that host and allow their users to share obscene content.

Providing specific names of the 39 websites, Department of Telecom in its June 13 order said: "It has been decided to immediately block the access to the following urls (website links)." "Kindly do not mention the name of URLs in the compliance letter," it added.

An Internet service provider (ISP) is an entity that offers users access to the Internet and related services.

An official of Ministry of Communications and IT told PTI: "We have just followed a court order and asked internet service providers to comply with it."

In April, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notices to ministries of Information and Technology, Information and Broadcasting and Home Affairs, and Internet Service Providers Association of India on a petition seeking to bring an anti-pornography law.

The petition filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani said watching obscene videos is not an offence but it is one of the major causes for crime against women.

The petition said that absence of Internet laws encourage people to watch obscene videos and as it is not an offence, over 20 crore such videos or clippings are freely available in the market, which are being directly downloaded through the Internet or accessed via video CDs.

Reacting to the development, President of Internet Service Providers Association of India Rajesh Charia said: "Effective way of blocking as per DoT's directive is to block the content at origin by respective data centre or content owner if content is hosted in country... if content is hosted outside India, then it should be blocked at international gateway of cable landing stations."