Published in Tehelka, in the issue dated 14 October 2006.
On 29 June this year, the Department of Telecom of the Ministry of India’s Communication and Information Technology asked some 150 Internet Servive Providers to block access to the website of the People’s War Group, www.geocities.com/cpimlpwg. Exactly a month later, the DoT issues another letter informing ISPs that “M/S Yahoo! Inc.” (which runs Geocities) had removed the PWG site anyway, and so all ISPs were requested to make sure that Geocities per se was not blocked.
This is the first time a provider of Internet services has agreed to the Indian government’s demand of completely removing a particular website, thus establishing a dangerous precedent. Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft do this regularly for China and other countries, with the difference that it is public knowledge there, and these companies come under attack from free speech activists the world over. Continue reading “The discreet charms of the nanny state”