India's government wants Internet companies and social networks like Facebook to screen content from users in India before posting it, according to a report from The New York Times.
Kapil Sibal, India's telecommunications minister, and executives from the Indian units of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook will meet on Monday to discuss the request. Sibal has made the request at previous meetings with Internet service providers and Facebook.
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According to The Times report, which cites "executives of Internet companies," Sibal told the companies at these meetings that he expected humans rather than machines to screen user-generated pages for disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content and that this content should be deleted before it's posted. The companies plan to tell Sibal that his request is impossible due to both the volume of user content and the vagueness of what is or is not defamatory.
This isn't the first time that India has made what Internet companies consider to be unreasonable requests for regulating content. Last year, the Indian government threatened to shut off BlackBerry services entirely when the device maker refused law enforcement agencies access to encrypted data (ultimately it did not).
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And in April, India enacted regulations that required websites to remove all objectionable material, including anything "grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous," "ethnically objectionable," "disparaging" or that impersonates another person. A memo from Google that outlined its objections to the regulations, including concern about placing limits on free speech, leaked to The Wall Street Journal about a month later.
Under these new rules, websites are required to remove objectionable content identified by authorities within 36 hours. Between January and June of this year, according to Google's Transparency Report, India has made 68 requests to remove content from the search engine -- the fifth highest number of requests from any country. Brazil, Germany, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan made more requests than India.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Betta Design
This story originally published on Mashable here.