Amid a raging controversy over monitoring of the Internet, the Government today said there is no proposal to formulate a mechanism to regulate content on the world wide web, Parliament was informed today.

“The Government does not regulate content and there is no proposal to formulate any mechanism to regulate the content,” the Minister of State for Communications and IT, Mr Sachin Pilot, said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He said during April 2010 to November 2011, a total of 57 incidents of misuse of social networking sites in terms of publishing objectionable content pertaining to political leaders, religions, national security and individuals were reported to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).

Last week, the Telecom Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, had met officials of leading Internet firms, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, with a view to halting offensive and defamatory content on the Internet, a move that sparked off controversy.

Different and strong views have emerged on the Government’s move to police the Internet.

Social networking sites have emerged as an online platform that enables users to share ideas, activities and express views/opinions on specific topics. Such sites can be accessed by all sections of societies.

“Most of such sites are hosted outside the country.

Morphed photographs of our national leaders and other celebrities have been uploaded on some social networking sites,” Mr Pilot said.

The Government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011, under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. These rules provide for intermediaries to observe due diligence and safeguards, he said.

(This article was published on December 14, 2011)
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