Internet giants remove content after India warning
Google and Facebook removed content from some Indian domain websites on Monday following a court directive warning them of a crackdown "like China" if they did not take steps to protect religious sensibilities.
The two are among 21 companies asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material after a private petitioner took them to court over images deemed offensive.
"(Our) review team has looked at the content and disabled this content from the local domains of search, Youtube and Blogger," Google spokeswoman Paroma Chaudhry said.
At the heart of the dispute is a law that India passed last year making companies responsible for user content posted on their web sites, and giving them 36 hours to take down content if there's a complaint.
Last month, the companies said it was not possible for them to block content. Google's Chaudhry declined to comment on what had since been removed, and a Facebook representative said only that the company would release a statement later.
A lower court in New Delhi told the companies on Monday to put in writing the steps they had taken to block offensive content, and submit reports to the court within 15 days.
Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft have appealed in the Delhi High Court against a criminal case successfully brought by a petitioner. A civil case against them has been brought to a lower court by a Muslim petitioner.
"If the companies have actually removed some content, they should put in place a mechanism to do it regularly, instead of waiting for a court case every time," Vinay Rai, a petitioner, told Reuters.
"Microsoft has filed an application for rejection of the suit on the grounds that it disclosed no cause of action against Microsoft," a spokesperson for the company said. "The matter is sub judice and no further comments can be given."
Despite the new rules to block offensive content, India's Internet access is still largely uncensored, in contrast to the tight controls in China.
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