Home Ministry to sing Sibal's song;to monitor online content

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New Delhi, Jan 17: After the social networking sites versus the government is turning ugly with every passing day, a recent move by the Home Ministry has thrown a spanner in the works. In a further setback to users' free speech and expression, the Home Ministry has claimed that such sites expose children to obscene material thereby inducing children to sexually explicit acts or crimes.

Supporting the move for censorship that was first proposed by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, the Home Ministry too seem to be singing the same song. The Home Ministry has stressed on the need "to monitor and regulate” these websites as well as train teachers, cybercafé owners and parents on the need to use parental control software to lessen the damage caused by faking the age, gender and identity.

B Bhamathi, Additional Secretary at the Home Ministry in a letter to all state police chiefs and chief secretaries said, "In appropriate cases, the police should request social networking sites to remove undesirable contents." She also suggested that police officers “carry out undercover cyber patrol operations” to catch hold of internet criminals, especially who are on the lookout of minors and send them to jail.

Google, Facebook, Youtube and other networking sites are presently involved in a bitter battle with the government over the need to remove objectionable content. The government wants to take a firm stand against those who upload content and graphics that could endanger the secular fabric of the country.

The Home Ministry's advisory stated, "The younger generation which uses the internet and other online technologies for staying connected… is more vulnerable to targeted cyber-crime." It urged to use the services of specialised central agencies to curb the damage.

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