India Proposes Chinese-Style Internet Censorship
India’s government has proposed new, sweeping rules that would enable strict government censorship of content. The public comment period on the rules has ended and the government could enact them at any time, worrying opposition candidates and free speech activists ahead of national elections scheduled for the spring. The rules would allow the government to dictate to companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others what content must be removed for reasons of libel, invasion of privacy, hate speech, or falsehoods. Internet communications companies would also be required to implement automated filters to block access to “unlawful information or content.” Finally, another element of the regulations would compromise privacy protections of encrypted services and allow the government trace messages back to their senders.
“The proposed changes have an authoritarian bent…this is very similar to what China does to its citizens, where it polices their every move and tracks their every post on social media,” declared the executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation. As more countriesmove in this direction, with China’s “great firewall” and Russia’s new tests at the forefront, proponents of the internet as a geographically unlimited good for global connections fear that it will become soloed by country and geography.