No More Porn in One of the World’s Most Populous Countries?

Photo (cc) by gre.ceres

India’s government has ordered Internet service providers to block 857 pornographic websites.

Reuters reports that the 17-page order, which lists the websites, was issued Friday and leaked to freedom-of-speech activists Monday.

A copy of the order posted online by the Centre for Internet and Society in India states that the order was made under the country’s Information Technology Act, citing “morality” and “decency” as outlined in the Constitution of India.

A spokesman for the Indian government’s telecommunications department, N.N. Kaul, tells Reuters:

“Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check. We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.”

The order follows the Indian Supreme Court’s hearing of a petition that argued Internet porn leads to sex crimes. The court refused to impose an outright ban in response to the petition but requested that the home ministry provide its opinion.

Kaul tells Reuters that the Indian government acted after the ministry sent a letter to the telecommunications secretary.

The Centre for Internet and Society’s policy director, Pranesh Prakash, said the ban is India’s largest crackdown on Internet porn to date, CNN Money reports. But CNN describes the order as “mostly symbolic”:

It does nothing to prevent Indians from visiting any of the tens of thousands of other porn sites on the Internet, and even banned sites can be easily accessed through a Virtual Private Network or another proxy.

With more than 1.2 billion residents, India is the second-most populous country in the world, behind China, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. India is expected to surpass China, however, within the next seven years, according to the United Nations’ latest population report.

Do you agree with the Indian government’s order, or do you consider it censorship? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below or our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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