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1482 web sites had been blocked by IT Ministry in 2022, RTI reveals

A complete of 1,482 web sites or URLs had been blocked by the Ministry of Electronics and Data Know-how (MeiTY) from January to March 2022, revealed an RTI question filed by Software program Freedom Authorized Central (SFLC.in), a authorized coverage agency. The blocked websites embody all forms of URLs corresponding to webpages, web sites and pages on social media platforms.

These web sites had been blocked citing Part 69A of the Data Know-how (IT) Act, 2000. The Part states that any company of the federal government or any middleman might be requested to dam the entry of knowledge for the general public “within the curiosity of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, safety of the State, pleasant relations with international states or public order or for stopping incitement to the fee of any cognisable offence regarding above”.

“Part 69A of the Data Know-how Act has been used again and again by the Authorities to censor content material, usually in violation of the provisions of the part which point out restricted grounds for blocking of entry to any data,” mentioned Prasanth Sugathan, Authorized Director at SFLC.in.

The variety of URLs blocked beneath Part 69A “are 9, 21 , 362 , 62 , 471 , 500 , 633 , 1385 , 2799 , 3635 , 9849 , 6096 and 1482 (until March 2022) throughout the yr 2010 , 2011 , 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , 2016 , 2017 , 2018 , 2019 , 2020 , 2021 and 2022 (until March 2022 ) respectively,” the RTI accessed by indianexpress.com revealed.

Beneath Rule 16 of Data Know-how (Process and Safeguards for Blocking for Entry of Data Public ) Guidelines, 2009, strict confidentiality ought to be maintained concerning all of the requests and complaints acquired. Which means the federal government can block any URL with out offering any substantial data, within the bigger curiosity of nationwide safety.

Nevertheless, Sugathan believes that “the confidentiality clause within the blocking guidelines ends in all orders and data concerning such blocking remaining out of the purview of the general public. Usually customers, whose content material is taken down, are additionally not knowledgeable and this basically goes towards the rationale of the Apex Court docket in upholding the part and the principles in Shreya Singhal vs Union of India.”

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