Internet censorship in India
Internet censorship in India is done by both central and state governments. DNS filtering and educating service users in better usage is an active strategy and government policy to regulate and block access to Internet content on a large scale. Also measures for removing content at the request of content creators through court orders have become more common in recent years. Initiating a mass surveillance government project like Golden Shield Project is also an alternative discussed over the years by government bodies.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Background
- 3 Instances of censorship
- 3.1 Reliance Communications - Backs All, Blocks All
- 3.2 Dawn website (1999)
- 3.3 Yahoo Groups (2003)
- 3.4 Websites blocked (2006)
- 3.5 Orkut and Indian law enforcement agreement (2007)
- 3.6 2011
- 3.7 2012
- 3.7.1 Delhi court summons
- 3.7.2 Websites blocked
- 3.7.3 Reliance DNS servers compromised
- 3.7.4 Annulment motion in Parliament against 2011 IT rules
- 3.7.5 Save Your Voice campaign
- 3.7.6 Madras High Court: Entire websites cannot be blocked
- 3.7.7 Domain hosting sites
- 3.7.8 Censorship following Assam violence
- 3.7.9 Telecom Minister's website defaced
- 3.7.10 BSNL website defaced
- 3.8 2013
- 3.9 2014
- 3.10 32 blocked websites
- 3.11 2015
- 3.12 2016
- 3.13 2017
- 4 Blocked websites
- 5 Usage of Internet kill switch
- 6 See also
- 7 References
OpenNet Initiative report
A stable democracy with a strong tradition of press freedom, that nevertheless continues its regime of Internet filtering. However, India's selective censorship of blogs and other content, often under the guise of security, has also been met with significant opposition.
Indian ISPs continue to selectively filter Web sites identified by authorities. However, government attempts at filtering have not been entirely effective because blocked content has quickly migrated to other Web sites and users have found ways to circumvent filtering. The government has also been criticised for a poor understanding of the technical feasibility of censorship and for haphazardly choosing which Web sites to block.
Reporters Without Borders "countries under surveillance"
Since the Mumbai bombings of 2008, the Indian authorities have stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship. The national security policy of the world's biggest democracy is undermining freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users' personal data.
Freedom House report
Freedom House's Freedom on the Net 2017 report gives India a Freedom on the Net status of "Partly Free" with a rating of 41 (scale from 0 to 100, lower is better). Its Obstacles to Access was rated 12 (0–25 scale), Limits on Content was rated 9 (0–35 scale) and Violations of User Rights was rated 20 (0–40 scale). India was ranked 26th out of the 65 countries included in the report.
The Freedom on the Net 2012 report, says:
- India's overall Internet Freedom Status is "Partly Free", unchanged from 2009.
- India has a score of 39 on a scale from 0 (most free) to 100 (least free), which places India 20 out of the 47 countries worldwide that were included in the 2012 report. India ranked 14 out of 37 countries in the 2011 report.
- India ranks third out of the eleven countries in Asia included in the 2012 report.
- Prior to 2008, censorship of Internet content by the Indian government was relatively rare and sporadic.
- Following the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 171 people, the Indian Parliament passed amendments to the Information Technology Act (ITA) that expanded the government's censorship and monitoring capabilities.
- While there is no sustained government policy or strategy to block access to Internet content on a large scale, measures for removing certain content from the web, sometimes for fear they could incite violence, have become more common.
- Pressure on private companies to remove information that is perceived to endanger public order or national security has increased since late 2009, with the implementation of the amended ITA. Companies are required to have designated employees to receive government blocking requests, and assigns up to seven years' imprisonment private service providers—including ISPs, search engines, and cybercafes—that do not comply with the government's blocking requests.
- Internet users have sporadically faced prosecution for online postings, and private companies hosting the content are obliged by law to hand over user information to the authorities.
- In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that bloggers and moderators can face libel suits and even criminal prosecution for comments posted on their websites.
- Prior judicial approval for communications interception is not required and both central and state governments have the power to issue directives on interception, monitoring, and decryption. All licensed ISPs are obliged by law to sign an agreement that allows Indian government authorities to access user data.
In June 2000, the Indian Parliament created the Information Technology (IT) Act to provide a legal framework to regulate Internet use and commerce, including digital signatures, security, and hacking. The act criminalises the publishing of obscene information electronically and grants police powers to search any premises without a warrant and arrest individuals in violation of the act. A 2008 amendment to the IT Act reinforced the government's power to block Internet sites and content and criminalised sending messages deemed inflammatory or offensive.
Internet filtering can also be mandated through licensing requirements. For example, ISPs seeking licences to provide Internet services with the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) "shall block Internet sites and/or individual subscribers, as identified and directed by the Telecom Authority from time to time" in the interests of "national security". Licence agreements also require ISPs to prevent the transmission of obscene or otherwise objectionable material.
In 2001, the Bombay High Court appointed a committee to oversee issues relating to online pornography and Cybercrime. The Court invited the petitioners, Jayesh Thakkar and Sunil Thacker, to make recommendations on cyber laws. The committee published a report which analyses the key issues and made recommendations regarding areas such as the licensing of cyber cafés, putative identity cards for cyber cafe visitors, that minors use computers in public spaces, and the maintenance of IP logs by cyber cafes. The Committee also recommended that internet service providers keep correct time logs and records.
The report also addressed the protection of children from adult websites and advised internet service providers to provide parental control software for every Internet connection. The committee also identified lack of technical knowledge in the police as a problem. The report was well received by the courts, and its recommendations are being implemented the police and cyber cafés. The Cyber Crime Investigation Cell was set up pursuant to a recommendation made by the committee.
In 2003, the Government of India established the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) to ensure Internet security. Its stated mission is "to enhance the security of India's Communications and Information Infrastructure through proactive action and effective collaboration". CERT-IN is the agency that accepts and reviews requests to block access to specific websites. All licensed Indian ISPs must comply with CERT-IN decisions. There is no review or appeals process. Many institutions, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, courts, the intelligence services, the police and the National Human Rights Commission, may call on it for specialist expertise. By stretching the prohibition against publishing obscene content to include the filtering of Web sites, CERT-IN was empowered to review complaints and act as the sole authority for issuing blocking instructions to the Department of Telecommunications (DOT). Many have argued that giving CERT-IN this power through executive order violates constitutional jurisprudence holding that specific legislation must be passed before the government can encroach on individual rights.
"I am mystified by our government's approach both to the internet and to the millions of Indians using it. It does not adhere to the values of our republic and democracy. This matter needs to be addressed urgently, for which I propose to file a PIL in the Supreme Court. Don't kill the freedom of speech, change the IT Rules", says Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament.
Instances of censorship
Reliance Communications - Backs All, Blocks All
It stays the most unfriendly organization for Customer Satisfaction. Due to its wide reach in all sectors and associations with primary government figures, it has drilled down to everything. Reliance continues to be behind many small Internet Providers and continues to block major File Sharing websites among others, significantly disabling Open Internet in India.
Dawn website (1999)
Immediately after the Kargil War in 1999, the website of the Pakistani daily newspaper Dawn was blocked from access within India by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, a government-owned telecommunications company which at the time had monopoly control of the international internet gateways in India. Rediff, a media news website, claimed that the ban was instigated by the Indian government, and then published detailed instructions as to how one could bypass the filter and view the site.
Yahoo Groups (2003)
In September 2003, Kynhun, a Yahoo group linked to the "Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council" (an illegal, minor separatist group from Meghalaya), which discussed the case of the Khasi tribe was banned. The Department of Telecommunications asked Indian ISPs to block the group, but difficulties led to all Yahoo! groups being banned for approximately two weeks.
Websites blocked (2006)
In July 2006, the Indian government ordered the blocking of 17 websites, including some hosted on the Geocities, Blogspot and Typepad domains. Initial implementation difficulties led to these domains being blocked entirely. Access to sites on these domains other than those specifically banned was restored by most ISPs after about a week.
Orkut and Indian law enforcement agreement (2007)
In 2007, Indian law enforcement entered an agreement with the then popular social networking site Orkut to track down what it deems defamatory content which, in their example, includes content critical of Bal Thackeray.
New IT rules adopted
The "IT Rules 2011" were adopted in April 2011 as a supplement to the 2000 Information Technology Act (ITA). The new rules require Internet companies to remove within 36 hours of being notified by the authorities any content that is deemed objectionable, particularly if its nature is "defamatory," "hateful", "harmful to minors", or "infringes copyright". Cybercafé owners are required to photograph their customers, follow instructions on how their cafés should be set up so that all computer screens are in plain sight, keep copies of client IDs and their browsing histories for one year, and forward this data to the government each month.
In March 2011, the Government banned several websites, Typepad, Mobango, Clickatell, and Facebook for some time without warning.
On 24 December 2011, Reliance Communications, a widely used ISP, again blocked access to file-sharing sites, having obtained a John Doe order from a Delhi court to help protect the movie Don 2 several days before its release. The block was lifted on 30 December 2011.
Pre-screening of Internet content
On 5 December 2011, The New York Times India Ink reported that the Indian government had asked several social media sites and internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo!, to "prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online". Top officials from the Indian units of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook had several meetings with Kapil Sibal, India's acting telecommunications minister to discuss the issue in recent months, India Ink reported. In one meeting, Sibal asked these companies "to use human beings to screen content, not technology", the article said.
On 6 December 2011, communications minister of India Kapil Sibal held a press conference confirming the India Ink story. "We have to take care of the sensibilities of our people," Mr. Sibal told more than 100 reporters during a press conference on the lawn at his home in New Delhi. "Cultural ethos is very important to us."
On 7 December 2011, The Times of India revealed that the search engine Google was asked to remove around 358 items by the Government of India out of which 255 items were said to criticise the government as per a Google transparency report. The government had asked Google to remove 236 items from Orkut and 19 items from YouTube for the same reason, it added. Other reasons include defamation (39 requests), privacy and security (20 requests), impersonation (14 requests), hate speech (8 requests), pornography (3 requests) and national security (1 request). Google admitted that 51 per cent of the total requests were partially or fully complied with. The news of banning and blocking objectionable content on the internet was seen negatively by many Indian netizens and #IdiotKapilSibal trended on Twitter after netizens expressed the outrage over the move. It was seen as a way to block websites criticising the government. In an interview to NDTV, Kapil Sibal responded by saying that most of the content being asked to be removed was pornographic in nature and involved deities, which could have caused communal disharmony. While Kapil Sibal claimed that the government wanted to remove pornographic content, Google transparency report published by Google claims that the content that included protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders were not removed. Google on its transparency report states
We received requests from state and local law enforcement agencies to remove YouTube videos that displayed protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders. We declined the majority of these requests and only locally restricted videos that appeared to violate local laws prohibiting speech that could incite enmity between communities. In addition, we received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove 236 communities and profiles from orkut that were critical of a local politician. We did not comply with this request, since the content did not violate our Community Standards or local law.
Google on this matter has also said that
When content is legal and does not violate our policies, we will not remove it just because it is controversial, as we believe that people's differing views, so long as they are legal, should be respected and protected.
While presently there are talks going on between the government and officials of internet companies like Google and Facebook, there is no consensus on this issue.
Ban on Cartoons Against Corruption
In 2011, a nationwide anti corruption movement India Against Corruption gathered pace in the leadership of a veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare demanding Jan Lokpal Bill. Political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi joined the crusade and started a cartoon based campaign, Cartoons Against Corruption to support the movement with his art. He launched a website www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com consisting of his sharp anti-corruption cartoons targeting corrupt system and the politicos. He displayed his cartoons in the MMRDA ground, Mumbai during the hunger strike of Anna Hazare.
Aseem Trivedi was exhibiting his political cartoons from Cartoons Against Corruption in the anti-corruption protest at the MMRDA grounds, when his website was suspended by Crime Branch, Mumbai. It was only 27 December, the first day of the protest, when he received an email from BigRock, the domain name registrar with which his website was registered, saying, "We have received a complaint from Crime Branch, Mumbai against domain name 'cartoonsagainstcorruption.com' for displaying objectionable pictures and texts related to flag and emblem of India. Hence we have suspended the domain name and its associated services."
The site was suspended after a complaint to the Mumbai Crime Branch by a Mumbai-based advocate and congress leader, R.P. Pandey. The complaint stated that "defamatory and derogatory cartoons" were displayed as posters during Mr. Hazare's hunger strike in Mumbai. Noting that the posters were created by Aseem Trivedi and "are believed to be made at the instance of Shri Anna Hazare", the complaint requested "strict legal action in the matter".
Following his website's ban, Aseem Trivedi uploaded all the cartoons to a blog he quickly created.
Delhi court summons
In January 2012, a Delhi court issued summonses to Google and Facebook headquarters for objectionable content. This was followed by the Delhi High Court saying that websites such as Google and Facebook were liable for the content, posted on their platform by users, as they benefited from the content. Google responded to both the Court and the Minister for Communication and IT Kapil Sibal, stating that it was impossible to pre-screen content. A plea was made by an educationist citing any sanctions against the online services will directly affect the fundamental right and will be against public interest. The Delhi Court also allowed Yahoo's case to be heard separately after it appealed citing it did not host any objectionable content and does not fall under the social networking site category.
Starting 3 May 2012, a number of websites including Vimeo, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and other torrent sites were allegedly blocked by Reliance Communications, on orders from Department of Telecom without any stated reasons or prior warnings.
Reliance DNS servers compromised
In May 2012, Anonymous India (AnonOpsIndia), a branch of the hacktivist group Anonymous, hacked the servers of Reliance Communications to protest the blocking of Vimeo, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and other torrent sites. The ISP Reliance Communications stated that it simply followed a court order. The group also hacked Reliance DNS servers preventing direct access to Twitter, Facebook and many other websites in India on 26 May 2012 for allegedly blocking its Twitter handle @OpIndia_Revenge. They went on to warn the Government to restore all the blocked websites till 9 June 2012, and has planned a nationwide protests on the same date. After this hack, Anonymous also released a list of websites that had been blocked by Reliance without any orders from the government, raising questions of private and unaccountable censorship by telecom providers.
Annulment motion in Parliament against 2011 IT rules
An annulment motion against the Information Technology (Inter-mediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 moved by Member of Parliament (MP) P. Rajeev of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the Rajya Sabha, was the first serious attempt by internet freedom activists to get the Information Technology Act, 2000 discussed and reviewed by the country's lawmakers. Not unexpectedly, the motion (specifically against the rules governing intermediaries – clause (zg) of subsection (2) of Section 87 read with subsection (2) of Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000) was not carried. However, the discussion that preceded it at least demonstrated the concerns of parliamentarians about what internet freedom activists have termed the "draconian" provisions of the IT Act.
Save Your Voice campaign
Save Your Voice is a movement against Internet censorship in India. It was founded by cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and journalist Alok Dixit in January 2012. The movement opposes the Information Technology Act of India and demands democratic rules for the governance of Internet. The campaign is targeted at the draconian rules framed under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Madras High Court: Entire websites cannot be blocked
On 15 June 2012, the Madras High Court has passed an order saying that entire websites cannot be blocked on the basis of "John Doe" orders. The High Court order reads:
The order of interim injunction dated 25 April 2012 is hereby clarified that the interim injunction is granted only in respect of a particular URL where the infringing movie is kept and not in respect of the entire website. Further, the applicant is directed to inform about the particulars of URL where the interim movie is kept within 48 hours.
Domain hosting sites
Starting in July 2012 several domain hosting sites were banned. When opening these sites, a message saying that these sites have been blocked by the Department of Telecommunications or court order is displayed. Sites such as Buydomains.com, Fabulous.com, and Sedo.co.uk were blocked.
Censorship following Assam violence
Between 18 and 21 August 2012 the Government of India ordered more than 300 specific URLs blocked. The blocked articles, accounts, groups, and videos were said to contain inflammatory content with fictitious details relating to Assam violence and supposedly promoting the North East exodus. These specific URLs include the domains of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BlogSpot, WordPress, Google Plus, Wikipedia, Times of India, and other websites. Many of the blocked URLs are Indian right wing activism against corruption. This raised questions about freedom of speech in the largest democracy in the world. It also raised questions about the censorship of people and posts debunking rumors. The Economic Times called it levels of censorship "that have not so far been seen in India". Over four days from 18 August, the Government of India issued directives to Internet Service Providers to block the twitter accounts of two Delhi-based journalists – Kanchan Gupta and Shiv Aroor – and Pravin Togadia. The government also blocked the website of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and several other right-wing websites. In addition, articles from Wikipedia, and news reports of violence in Assam on the websites of The Times of India, Firstpost, The Daily Telegraph and Al-jazeera were blocked. A petition was created to oppose Internet censorship in India by the Indian diaspora in the US.
Telecom Minister's website defaced
In November 2012, Anonymous India defaced Indian Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal's constituency website in protest against an amendment to the Information Technology Act and the recent crackdown on netizens for comments posted online.
BSNL website defaced
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited's (BSNL) website, www.bsnl.co.in, was hacked by Anonymous India on 13 December 2012. They defaced the website with a picture stating that they protest against section 66A of the IT Act and in support of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit. The duo have gone on a hunger striker to protest against Section 66A.
39 websites blocked
In an order dated 13 June 2013, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) directed Indian Internet service providers (ISPs) to block 39 websites. The order did not specify a reason or law under which the websites were blocked. Most are web forums, where Internet users share images and URLs to pornographic files. However, some of the websites are also image and file hosts, mostly used to store and share files that are not pornographic. While watching or distributing child pornography is illegal in India, watching adult pornography is not. The blocked websites are hosted outside India and claim to operate under the U.S. rule that requires performers to be over 18 years of age.
File sharing and file hosting sites banned
In an order dated 23 June 2014, the Delhi High Court upon a request made by Sony Entertainment ordered 472 file sharing and file hosting websites blocked, including The Pirate Bay, Google Docs, Google Videos, and Google’s URL shorterner (goo.gl). This is contrary to the 2012 Madras High Court orders which blocked only URLs referencing web pages with illegal content, rather than entire websites. However, it was reported on 7 July 2014 that an updated court order blocks just 219 sites. Included are many file storage and torrent websites, but no Google sites.
Whistle blower Savukku's site blocked by Judge C T Selvam
In an interim order on the petition filed by news reader Mahalaxmi, Justice Cyril Selvam blocked the entire website www.savukku.net. This order on 28 Feb 2014 directly contradicts an earlier order by Madras High Court on 15 Apr 2012 against banning entire website instead of specific URLs.
Earlier in Feb, savukku.net had exposed the tapes of conversations between DMK MP Kanimozhi and former Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Jaffer Sait, Jaffer Sait and Kalaignar TV's former director Sharad Kumar, and DMK President M Karunanidhi's Secretary K.Shanmuganathan and Jaffer Sait.
Judge C T Selvam is considered to be close to Karunanidhi's family.
Justice CT Selvam became judge of the Madras High Court when Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu during 2006–2011. Just a couple of hours before taking oath as judge Justice Selvam called on Karunanidhi and got his blessings and this was revealed through a govt press release with photograph by the Tamil Nadu government's Information Department.
Ban of porn sites
Kamlesh Vaswani, the lawyer behind the ban in his petition said: “Watching porn itself puts the country’s security in danger, encourages violent acts, unacceptable behaviour in society, exploitation of children and lowers the dignity of women and he believes watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women.” To say Indian women watch porn is an insult to their dignity, watching porn also promotes sexual violence against women and children, he said. He states “Pornography creates stereotypes representation of women and becomes the basis behind unequal treatment (sic) of women in society.”
Chetan Bhagat, an investment banker turned novelist, described the porn ban as "anti-freedom," "impractical" and "not enforceable." He satirically suggested that India next ban olive oil (as being too Western), comedic television, and pizza (due to not being Indian cuisine). "Anyone who has an opinion different from yours must be banned," Bhagat said on Twitter. "After all, you are always right."
32 blocked websites
The Department of Telecommunications ordered blocking of 32 websites including the Internet Archive, Github, Dailymotion and Vimeo, as they could host terror content relating to ISIS but the sites are no longer blocked as of 1 January 2015 as the order had been reversed and the unblocking process has begun on compliant websites.
On 1 August 2015, 857 pornographic sites were blocked under section 79 3(b) of Information Technology Act, 2000, to restrict access to pornographic content. This list was given to government officials by petitioner Kamlesh Vaswani on 17 October 2014 in Supreme Court of India. The original list was generated by a Suresh Kumar Shukla, founder of Filternet Foundation which makes pornography-blocking software and contained popular sites. The block was ordered by the government Department of Telecom on 31 July 2015. A copy of the order is available through media websites.
The ban was lifted on the 5th of August the same year, by Department of Telecommunications. Porn is major internet traffic (as high as 70%) and telecom companies were losing revenue. Additionally people criticised the law enforcement (section 67 of IT Act 2000).
As of 2015, India now blocks more Facebook content than any other nation.
Some Bollywood studios came up with a public education message that black money generated from pre-release of their content through offline markets are sourced for terrorism, though sources were not clear. Reports show that piracy losses are significantly high.
In September 2016, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told a court that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! had agreed to censor all information on their search engines related to prenatal sex discernment in order to comply with the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994.
In August 2017, the Madras High Court ordered that the Internet Archive be blocked in India, following complaints by film studios who alleged that the service had been used to disseminate copyright-infringing copies of its films.
Over the years, the government has banned thousands of websites and URLs in the country with the help of internet service providers or under the directive of the courts. For example, in August 2015, the government banned at least 857 sites for their pornographic contents and in June 2016, the government further banned over 200 URLs for providing 'Escort Services'.
In August 2015, the Central government of India ordered TRAI and Internet Service Providers based in India to ban domestic and international porn websites. In response, nearly 857 websites were blocked. Star India Pvt Ltd, an entertainment company owned by 21st Century Fox have successfully gained authorization through hoodwinking the court. They can now force ISPs to block entire websites to tackle Internet piracy and sharing for their copyrighted content. This was gained through falsifying data that these sites are uploading videos when it is a user centered activity and covering up the fact each of these websites have active departments to regulate any sorts of infringement and misuse of their services. Prathiba M Singh, who had represented Star India, cited poor resources of media giants like Star India, for targeting these domains without block expiry period and their legal team termed these sites as "rogue sites" and expressed delight in their successive filing from 2014 and incognito win to violate freedom of trade on the Internet at least in India. Though some critics say this would be lifted eventually by seeing the fallacy as in similar previous cases. Many has raised there voice through social media that the proceedings being overly suspicious and was gained for a alternate means, which is aimed for profiting rather than the initial spike of alleged piracy of these copyrighted contents and strengthening an ongoing practice of bottle-necking the internet users to forced payment and culture of on-demand online access to content. This has happened in the same week were media personnel's filter-free over indulgences to manipulate ongoing cases and political statements without any guidelines were appalled by Lawyers in the country.
In 2016, India also put forwarded a new plan to control internet usage of its netizens. Accessing or pop-ups from ad services or malware infection of websites banned in India might invite 3 years of jail sentence and a fine of Rs 3 lakh. Until now, URLs and websites were blocked using DNS-filtering. This means the DNS of the blocked site was added to a list maintained by the internet service provider and whenever a user tried connecting to that site, the DNS server of the internet service provider would block that request. Officials suspect netizens are circumventing these measures knowingly or unknowingly. The government also intends to provide broad educational information classes, provide free operating systems with utilities for malware, free access to internet, and for computerized activities of daily life as a primary method. Currently, the government is joining hands with media content providers and internet service providers like big companies Tata Communications and Airtel to manage a number of internet gateways in India. Though many legal, technical and social action groups consider this as a threatening approach. Many social action groups say that these as inappropriate time and money spend while real issues like unemployment, access to education, freedom of practicing religion, women and children safety, drug use are ever rising. Lawyers with technical background say this might be warning message and DNS filtering is a better practice for enforcing Anti-piracy laws in current India. Some of them are also wary about how will these actions get reflected in terms hostility towards human rights, implications of these fines, profiteering stakeholders agendas, is it the government's first step to a long term plan "monitoring the whole world wide web" as China does. Many of these services are malvertising, click away access and pops ups, how does the government intend to tackle these issues and problems with the current plan that is heavily in favor of corporation's margin and doesn't cater to its users needs. Other groups express their fear and uneasiness whether these will lead to emergency era like arrests where anything that government bodies believe is an "offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957".
This URL has been blocked under the instructions of the Competent Government Authority or in compliance with the orders of a Court of competent jurisdiction. Viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating an illicit copy of the contents under this URL is punishable as an offence under the laws of India, including but not limited to under Sections 63, 63-A, 65 and 65-A of the Copyright Act, 1957 which prescribe imprisonment for 3 years and also fine of upto Rs. 3,00,000/-. Any person aggrieved by any such blocking of this URL may contact at urlblock [at] tatacommunications [dot] com who will, within 48 hours, provide you the details of relevant proceedings under which you can approach the relevant High Court or Authority for redressal of your grievance
Current situation that have led to this sudden moves is reported to be by influence of film studios in India and courts who have regularly issued orders in the favor for them. Often these are done with the contracted lawyers of film studios approach courts in regular intervals ahead and after a movie's release seeking preventive blocks on the URLs they compile and list. This lists in reality are unprofessionally and "poorly compiled and often block is sought on full websites just on the basis of whims and fancies". "Once this order are issued, the copies of the order along with the list of URLs to be blocked go to DoT, which then they pass an order to internet service providers to block these sites". The interesting part here is that once a URL is blocked it remains blocked, even years after the release of the film without an expiry. Patent lawyers also suggest to make practical changes in its laws according to the current e-environment like making materials accessible within six months to one year and protecting the content from manipulation and creative infringement of the same under copyright laws to lessen the current piracy problems.
Usage of Internet kill switch
Jammu and Kashmir
The State government shut down the Internet on 17–18 March 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir to stop separatists from addressing a United Nations Human Rights Council sideline event via video link in Geneva. Internet access was shut down again for mobile and landline broadband in July 2016 against the backdrop of protests.
The state government of Jammu and Kashmir on 26 April 2017 ordered the various Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in the valley to block access to 22 social networking websites for one month saying among other things, "endangering public life and property and causing unrest/ disharmony in the state". Pertinently, the order was passed by exercising the powers conferred under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 which technically became obsolete circa 2008 when the Government of India decided to stop all telegraph services in the country. As a result of this censorship, people living in the valley have resorted to circumvention tactics in the form of using web proxies, VPNs among other things. The popularity of these tactics have compelled the government to block access to Android Play store among other services for some time in a bid to prevent citizens from getting access to these services.
The banned services include widely used services like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp but also surprisingly the list includes websites like QQ, Baidu, Qzone, which are not used outside of mainland China. Xanga, a website featured in the list, shut down in 2013. These websites mostly being in Mandarin has people concerned that the censorship has been an attempt to suppress dissent only by all means necessary, as opposed to their claim of "maintaining peace and harmony".
The State government shut down the Internet in Vadodara, Gujarat from September 27, 2014 for 3 days due to communal clashes between two communities, even though only the central government has the power to shut down the Internet under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and that, in addition, under a declared state of emergency under article 352 of the Constitution of India when freedom of speech and expression is suspended. No formal announcement was made regarding this by the city police or the Internet service providers.
When the Patidar reservation agitation turned violent on 25 August 2015, the internet services on mobile phones and broadband were restricted as certain social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook were blocked for six days from 26 August 2015 to 31 August 2015 across the state.
Both SMS and internet/data services were suspended in Nagaland from 30 January, which were restored on 20 February after being blocked for 20 days.The block was initiated to prevent the spread of violence in the state. This situation came up when two Naga tribal bodies had served a three-day ultimatum to Zeliang to step down following the government's decision to hold local body elections with 33% reservation for women in 12 towns across the state and the death of two persons in clashes between the police and protestors at Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, on the night of January 31.
The State government of Manipur shut down the Internet of some service providers, who provide Internet through mobile technology 2G/3G/4G in Manipur from 1 September evening, to 8 September 2015 afternoon due to agitation over the passing of three Bills. Police and protesters clashed in different areas of Churachandpur district as mobs went on a rampage attacking residences of Ministers, MLAs and MPs. 
The State government of Manipur was ordered by respective Deputy commissioner (DC) to shut down Mobile data service in Imphal west and Imphal east district from 17 December 2016 till further order. On 18 December 2016 Home department of Government of Manipur was ordered to shutdown all Mobile data services and SMS in Manipur from 10 am on 18 December 2016, to 10 am on 30 December 2016.
The State government of Manipur ordered all forms of telecom services, except voice calls, to be suspended for five days in Manipur with effect from Thursday night(19-07-2018) to prevent anti-national and anti-social messages on social media. Ksh. Raghumani Singh, special secretary (home) Manipur, in an order issued in the name of the governor said the prohibition is imposed under Rule II of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
For second time in 2018 the State government of Manipur was ordered to shut down Mobile data services in Manipur for five days, with effect from 21 September 2018, the prohibition was imposed under Rule II of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. An order issued by Special Secretary (Home) Kh Raghumani said the step was taken to prevent spread of rumors, "which might have serious repercussion for the law and order situation in the entire state of Manipur." 
For the third time under the leadership of CM N. Biren Singh in 2019 the State government of Manipur was ordered to shut down Mobile data services in Manipur for five days, amidst protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which took effect from 11 February 2019 mid night. District magistrate for Imphal West Naorem Praveen Singh also barred cable news channels from “transmission of agitation or protest” indefinitely “until further orders”, under Section 19 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 which prohibits transmission of agitation or protests which may lead to violence.
Internet / Mobile data service was restored after an order in the name of Governor issued by Ksh. Raghumani Singh, special secretary (home) Manipur at 02:00 PM, 13 February 2019, The CAB was not tabled on Rajya Sabha as the law and order situation improved and come back to normalcy.
- Censorship in India
- Information Technology Act 2000
- Websites blocked in India
- Fundamental Rights in India
- Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties of India
- "ONI Country Profile: India", Access Contested, Ronald J. Deibert, John G. Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski and Jonathan Zittrain (Eds), OpenNet Initiative, MIT Press, November 2011, pp. 299–308
- Due to legal concerns the OpenNet Initiative does not check for filtering of child pornography and because their classifications focus on technical filtering, they do not include other types of censorship.
- Internet Enemies Archived 23 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Reporters Without Borders (Paris), 12 March 2012
- "India – Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
- "Table of Country Scores FOTN 2017". freedomhouse.org. 4 November 2016.
- "India Country Report", Freedom on the Net 2012, Freedom House. Retrieved 25 September 2012
- "Internet Freedom", 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: India, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 8 April 2011
- Schedule C, Section 1.10.2 Archived 8 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Government of India, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Department of Telecommunications Telecom Commission, Licence Agreement for Provision of Internet Service (including Internet Telephony)
- Schedule C, Section 1.12.9 Archived 8 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Government of India, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Department of Telecommunications Telecom Commission, Licence Agreement for Provision of Internet Service (including Internet Telephony)
- Report to Recommend Measures to Protect and Shield Minors from Pornographic and Obscene Material on the Internet Archived 1 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Committee Appointed by the Bombay High Court, 30 January 2002
- "Indian Computer Emergency Response Team", website, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India
- CERT-IN "Charter and Mission", Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India
- "Don't Kill Freedom Of Speech", Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Times of India, 30 November 2012
- "India blocks Pakistani newspaper web site", Newswatch.in, 5 July 1999
- "Grateful Dawn group writes to Express", Express News Service, 15 July 1999
- "Click here ti read Dawn", Srikant Sreenivasan and Priya Ganapati, Rediff on the Net, 5 July 1999
- "India blocks Yahoo! Groups", Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 24 September 2003
- "India Bans One Yahoo Discussion Group" Archived 17 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Shibu Thomas, InfoWar Monitor, 29 September 2003
- "Blocking the Blogs". Outlook India. 18 July 2006. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2006.
- Sengupta, Somini (18 July 2006). "India Blocks Blogs in Wake of Mumbai Bombings". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 July 2006.
- "Blog blockade will be lifted in 48 hours", Rediff News, 19 July 2006
- "Bloggers are back in business". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 25 July 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2006.
- "Orkut's tell-all pact with cops", The Economic Times, 1 May 2007
- "Updated: Indian Government Blocks Typepad, Mobango, and Clickatell", Nikhil Pahwa, et al., MediaNama, 4 March 2011
- "Singham effect: File sharing sites blocked", NDTV, "Singham v/s file sharing", Lindsay Pereira, Mid DAY, 22 July 2011
- "Blocking website in India: Reliance Communications shows it is very easy", Javed Anwer, Times of India, 24 December 2011
- "RCom shuts access to file-sharing sites", Shubhashish and Katya B Naidu, Business Standard (Mumbai), 27 December 2011
- Timmons, Heather (5 December 2011). "India Asks Google, Facebook to Screen User Content". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- Timmons, Heather (6 December 2011). "'Any Normal Human Being Would Be Offended'". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Our right to freedom of speech and expression is under attack". 9 March 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "Kapil Sibal's web censorship: Indian govt wanted 358 items removed, says Google". The Times of India. 7 December 2011.
- Basu, Moni. "Proposal to block harsh online criticism of leaders sparks anger in India". CNN. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Never asked for pre-screened content: Sibal to NDTV". NDTV. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Google India Transparency Report", Google India Transparency Report, Google India Transparency Report
- "Google India Transparency Report 2011". Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- "India vows crackdown on offensive internet content". BBC News. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- "Internet giants meet Sibal, object to censorship". IBN. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- "Democracy arrested in India: Aseem Trivedi continues his struggle against censorship". 12 January 2012.
- "From Cyber India to Censor India: Groups challenge didactic govt". 29 April 2012.
- "Website blocked, cartoonist moves content to another host". 7 January 2012.
- "Cartoonist Faces Ban on Right to Poke Fun". 4 January 2012.
- "Why is this cartoonist caged?". 23 April 2012.
- Ribeiro, John (16 January 2012). "Delhi Court issues summons to Google, Facebook headquarters for objectionable content". New Delhi: PC World. p. 1. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Julka, Harsimran (17 January 2012). "Google, Facebook benefit from illegal content: Delhi High Court". The Economic Times. Mumbai. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Impossible to pre-screen content: Google, Facebook". New Delhi: Daily News and Analysis. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Garg, Abhinav (19 January 2012). "Crackdown on Facebook challenged in high court". Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
- "Yahoo approaches Delhi High Court; notice to Delhi Police". The Economic Times. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Video sharing website Vimeo.com blocked in India". Rediff News. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "Reliance Communications Blocks The Pirate Bay & Vimeo". Medianama. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "Anonymous hacks Indian sites to protest against Vimeo, others being blocked". NDTV.
- "Anonymous hacks into Reliance servers; prevents users from accessing Facebook, Twitter". gadgets.ndtv.com.
- "Anonymous hacks ISP to protest blocking of sites". dnaindia.com.
- Patkar, Mihir (27 May 2012). "Hackers set June 9 deadline to unblock sites". The Times of India. Mumbai: Times News Network. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- D'Monte, Leslie; Sheikh, Aminah (26 May 2012). "Anonymous hackers to attack from 9 June". Livemint.com. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- "Reliance Broadband hacked by Anonymous blocked sites list leaked".
- "Poor Guarantee of Online Freedom in India". 16 June 2012.
- "Rajya Sabha to consider repealing Kapil Sibal's IT Rules". 19 April 2012.
- "Save Your Voice – A movement against Web censorship". 13 May 2012.
- "Why is this cartoonist caged?". 23 April 2012.
- "No More John Doe Orders? Indian ISPs Get Court Order For Specificity In URL Blocks". Medianama. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- "ISPs get court relief, blocked websites may be history: Report". NDTV. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- "No more blocking of entire websites?". Business Standard. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- Pahwa, Nikhil (17 July 2012). "Domain Marketplace Sedo.co.uk Blocked In India". Medianama. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Deepak Raj (7 July 2012). "BuyDomains.com Blocked in India for No Obvious Reason". TechBlogger.com. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
- "Assam violence: Government sets 12-hour deadline for Twitter to remove hate pages", The Economic Times, 23 August 2012
- "Government blocks Twitter handles of journalists, right-wing groups – here is the proof", The Economic Times, 23 August 2012
- "Government asks Twitter to block fake 'PMO India' accounts; site fails to respond", The Economic Times, 23 August 2012
- "Analysing Latest List of Blocked Sites (Communalism & Rioting Edition)", Pranesh Prakash, Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore), 22 August 2012
- Thomas Philip, Joji (24 August 2012). "Government blocks Twitter handles of journalists, right-wing groups". The Economic Times. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Internet Censorship in India", Americans for Freedom of Religious Expression (AFRE). Retrieved 29 August 2012
- "Indian Information Technology Minister Website hacked by Anonymous India". Hack Read. 30 November 2012.
- "#Anonymous hacks India IT minister's webpage in wake of Facebook arrests". RT (Russia Today). 30 November 2012.
- Kim Arora (13 December 2012). "BSNL website hacked by Anonymous India". Times of India. TNN.
- Ellyne Phneah (14 December 2012). "Indian telco BSNL's Web site breached by Anonymous India". ZDNet.
- "Govt goes after porn, makes ISPs ban sites", Javed Anwer, Times News Network (TNN), Times of India, 26 June 2013
- "Order in Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd vs. Sunit Signh and ORS …", High Court of Delhi at New Delhi, CS(OS) 1860/2014, 23 June 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- "219 websites blocked in India, after Sony complaint", Nikhil Pahwa, MediaNama, 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- "No More John Doe Orders? Indian ISPs Get Court Order For Specificity In URL Blocks", Nikhil Pahwa, MediaNama, 20 June 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "Madras High court orders to shut down website that exposed 2G tapes", R Ramasubramanian, India Today, 28 February 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- Shetty, Shreya (11 November 2014). "Govt to block all porn sites in India, asks Internet providers to deny access to such websites - Mobiletor.com". mobiletor.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Swachh Internet: Modi Govt To Block Adult Websites". businessinsider.in. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Meet Kamlesh Vaswani, the lawyer behind India's porn ban". hindustantimes.com. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Riley, Charles (4 August 2015). "India can't censor all Internet porn. Should it even be trying?". cnn.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "32 websites blocked in India after DoT circular". lex-warrier.in. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "are porn sites getting blocked? • /r/india". reddit.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Vaswani and the puritan league - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- Biswas, Soutik (17 August 2015). "The men waging war against pornography in India". BBC News – via www.bbc.com.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- IBTimes (4 August 2015). "Porn Ban in India: Complete List of 857 Websites Blocked on DoT Order". ibtimes.co.in. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Banned: Complete list of 857 porn websites blocked in India". deccanchronicle.com. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "857 porn sites banned in India; Govt plans ombudsman for Net content". financialexpress.com. 3 August 2015. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Naqvi, Muneeza (21 April 2012). "India orders telecoms to block more than 850 adult websites". Yahoo News Singapore. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Government orders blocking of 857 pornographic websites – Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 3 August 2015.
- Ghosh, Shauvik (4 August 2015). "Oops, Indian ISPs, telcos could lose 30-70% of data revenue because of porn ban".
- Majumder, Sanjoy (8 August 2015). "The twisting tale of India's porn ban". BBC News – via www.bbc.com.
- Pagliery, Jose (6 February 2015). "The 3 places where Facebook censors you the most". cnn.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Endorsing piracy akin to endorsing terrorism: Producer Ritesh Sidhwani". financialexpress.com. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Google, Microsoft, Yahoo Will Block Indian Gender-Selection Ads". Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- "Internet search engines to block info on sex determination tests". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
- Kelion, Leo (9 August 2017). "'Bollywood blocks the Internet Archive'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- "Banned URLs: Here is the full list of the blocked websites". Zee News. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- "Why India's order to block 857 websites might not work". Indian Express. PTI. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- M.N, Parth; Bengali, Shashank (5 August 2015). "India reverses ban on Internet porn after public outrage, ridicule" – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Delhi High Ccourt wants 73 websites banned for streaming pirated videos". 1 August 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Lawyers beat up media reporters at Kerala High Court – Times of India".
- India, Press Trust of (30 July 2016). "No ban imposed on journalists in reporting court proceedings". Business Standard India – via Business Standard.
- "You may get 3 years in jail, fine of 3 lakhs for viewing a torrent site in India – Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 21 August 2016.
- "You may face 3 years jail term for viewing Torrent websites in India – Gadgets Now". Gadget Now. 22 August 2016.
- "Are you a criminal now? Users may get 3 years in jail for viewing torrent site, blocked URL in India".
- "India shuts down internet to prevent Mirwaiz's address". Kashmir Media Service. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Government orders social media ban in Kashmir". www.kashmirlife.net. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- Biddle, Sam. "Xanga Is Shutting Down". Gawker. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
- "Government can switch off your internet if necessary – The Economic Times". indiatimes.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Vadodara tense, mobile data services suspended". hindustantimes.com. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Mobile internet facility suspended in violence-hit Vadodara". india.com. 28 September 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Internet services blocked in Vadodara after riots – Times of India". indiatimes.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Business (31 August 2015). "Internet services restored in Ahmedabad at midnight". The Indian Express. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
- "Nagaland Lynching: Internet and SMS Suspended As Protests Escalate, 18 Arrested". ndtv.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Dimapur lynching case: Internet, SMS services blocked in Nagaland". indiatimes.com. 8 March 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Nagaland:Internet services restored back to normalcy after 20 days!". The North East Today. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "Blocking information". www.easternmirrornagaland.com. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "Nagaland legislators appeals tribal bodies to lift shutdown". The Financial Express. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "The Sangai Express – Largest Circulated NewsPaper in Manipur". thesangaiexpress.com. Retrieved 18 January 2017.[permanent dead link]
- "The Sangai Express – Largest Circulated NewsPaper in Manipur". thesangaiexpress.com. Archived from the original on 25 December 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Mobile Internet blocked". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
- "4 Manipur Police Personnel Killed, 4 Others Injured In Ambush". Ndtv.com. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- "Manipur: Internet and SMS services banned for five days - InsideNE". InsideNE. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Manipur suspends cell Internet service". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Manipur suspends cell Internet service". www.telegraphindia.com.
- www.ETTelecom.com. "Mobile internet services suspended in Manipur for 5 days - ET Telecom". ETTelecom.com.