No Censorship on Web? Sibal 'assures' freedom for web users

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Kapil Sibal
New Delhi, March 22: At a time when the government is facing large-scale criticism for its attempt to censor the web and social media, Union communications and information technology minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday said internet can't be governed.

Sibal assured that web users should not feel threatened as government was committed to the freedom of the web users. "We are wedded to the freedom of expression and will do nothing to diminish that freedom," he said.

Sibal stressed that the internet was a necessity in India and gives voice to the voiceless.

"The internet is necessary for India ... it gives a chance for the voiceless to be heard," said Sibal at Google Big Tent, an event in Delhi. "Internet is the most important and transformative forum."

He said, "Internet governance to me is an oxymoron. How can you govern anybody on the net, you cannot. The net must govern itself ... It's a platform where we need to talk to each other on a daily basis. And also adhere to certain rules of the game. You cannot play cricket without rules, you cannot play baseball without rules."

Statistics of Google's data indicate an increasing number of Indian authorities are asking the company to remove their data.

"In the first half of the last year, Indian authorities made 596 requests to Google for removal of content. In comparison, only 255 such requests were made in the second half of 2011. In the second half of 2012, Indian government made 2,431 requests to Google to get information on 4,106 users and accounts," shows data.

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