Twitter May Face Nationwide Block in India, If They Doesn't Remove 28 Harmful Pages

Twitter May Face Nationwide Block in India If They Doesn't Remove 28  Harmful Pages

The Government of India has threatened to block Twitter across the whole country, if the social networking giant doesn't block and remove 28 accounts containing objectionable content within 12 hours. The department of telecommunications (DoT) ordered blocking of the accounts on August 20. The blocked accounts include those maintained by a columnist and a journalist working for a TV channel. Those Twitter accounts are part of a list containing over 300 specific URLs that internet service providers (ISPs) in India have been told to block. The list is dominated by URLs belonging to Facebook and Youtube. Indian government allegedly found 102 URLs on Facebook and 85 URLs on YouTube where communally sensitive content was posted. According to a blogpost at Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) told almost "all of the blocked items have content that are related to communal issues and rioting". The information ministry has issued Twitter with a deadline notice to remove "inflammatory and harmful" material that has allegedly triggered ethnic tensions against northeastern migrants living in southern cities. Thousands of migrant students and workers have fled cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore in fear of retaliation for violence against Muslims in the northeastern state of Assam. Internet posts, phone text messages and fake video clips allegedly spread rumours that Muslims were poised to attack them. "If Twitter fails to respond to our request, we will take appropriate action," senior home ministry official R K Singh was quoted as saying in the press. 
"We have asked the information technology ministry to serve them a notice." Information technology minister Kapil Sibal said he was frustrated at the lack of response from US social networking sites.
Twitter has conveyed that it was facing technical difficulties in blocking certain webpages where morphed and inflammatory images were uploaded but the government made it clear that the social networking site has to withdraw them or face punitive action. "We are not ruling out," an official said when asked whether Twitter was buying time. The government says Google and Facebook have largely cooperated while Twitter has been much slower to respond.
The blocking of Twitter accounts was partial due to technical challenges. The accounts have already been blocked with the help of ISPs and not Twitter. Accessing them from India shows web users a message, saying "This website/URL has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to Court orders or on the Directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications". Also, the block works only if the accounts are accessed using HTTP and not HTTPS protocol.

-Source (TOI, PTI& IBT)


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