Objectionable Content on Websites

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EQUALITY INDIA NEWS / A SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

Every infrastructure/service may be used for hosting variety of applications and content of any nature. The web infrastructure does not distinguish the nature of content. The technology is therefore, used for purposes which may be liked by one section of society and not liked by other sections of society. Several groups have hosted websites with obscene/objectionable content on internet for variety of purposes. Such sites can be accessed by all sections of users. Most of such websites are hosted outside the country.

The filtering of websites with obscene/objectionable content poses a technical challenge. These websites keep on changing the names, domain addresses and hosting platforms from time to time making it difficult to filter or block such websites using technical tools available in the market. In addition, the tools provide filtering to a limited extent only. The tools, in the process, also filter genuine content and degrade the performance of systems.

The Information Technology Act 2000 amended by the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 with effect from 27.10.2009 together with the Indian Penal Code 1860, provides legal framework for countering websites with obscene/objectionable content including child pornography. Sections 67, 67A and 67B of the Information Technology Act provides stringent punishment and fine for publishing or transmission of pornography in electronic form as well as hosting on website any information which is lascivious, or contains sexually explicit act or conduct, or depicts children engaged in sexually explicit act. Section 67 provides imprisonment upto three years and fine upto five lakh rupees for first conviction and imprisonment upto five years and fine upto ten lakh rupees for subsequent convictions. Section 67A and Section 67B provides punishment upto five years and fine upto ten lakh rupees for first conviction and imprisonment upto seven years and fine upto ten lakh rupees for subsequent convictions.

This information was given by Shri Sachin Pilot, the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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