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Porn ban: IAMAI says notice to ISPs will lead to a chilling effect

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MUMBAI: The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has said that the latest government notice dated 4 August, 2015, to the Intermediaries (ISPs) is vague and has led to a chilling effect.

The notice states that the ISPs are free not to disable any of the 857 URLs, as provided in the list earlier, which do not have child pornographic content. However, the problem is with the caveat in the notice mentioning “which do not have child pornographic content.”

The problem is that the said notice is not accompanied by any specific list of sites or links and the Intermediaries are expected to find out the links or sites containing child pornography themselves. This is not how it works under the law. The correct procedure should have been to provide the ISPs with a specific list along with the notification, as was done in the earlier notice dated 31 July, 2015.

The ISPs have rightly asked the government to withdraw the notification. The Internet Service Providers Association of India's (ISPAI) letter to the government states, "We urge you to withdraw the said vague directive as it is not only confusing, but also putting responsibility on ISPs of the website on which ISPs does not have any control." However, they are wrong in saying that “till further directives, the said 857 sites will continue to be blocked.”

IAMAI has said that this is a typical case of a chilling effect and its worst fears have come true.

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