The government has identified 275 websites and blogs that were found responsible for the hate campaign against people from Northeast region of India. The Department of telecommunications has said that bulk of the content/information, which contained images and videos mostly morphed, aimed at targeting people of North East were taken from events unrelated to the incident occurred in Assam.
Following is the full text of the statement by the Department of Telecom:
A lot of inflammatory and harmful content/information has been found to be appearing on the social networking sites hosted outside the country. Bulk of the content/information, which contained images and videos mostly morphed, aimed at targeting people of North East. Most of the content were taken from events unrelated to the incident occurred in Assam. Hosting of such morphed image/video led to a lot of inciting comments from users on the blogs hosting such morphed images/videos and circulation of hate SMSes. It disturbed the peace and harmony among the communities leading to public disorder and exodus of North Eastern people from some parts of the country.
Considering the sensitivity and after effects of such inflammatory and harmful content hosted on the social networking sites, the Department of Electronics & Information Technology had issued an advisory on 17th August 2012 to all the intermediaries including national and international social networking sites, advising them to take necessary action to disable such inflammatory and hateful content hosted on their websites on priority basis. The Department of Electronics & Information Technology also called a meeting of the representatives of international social networking sites based in India and advised them to take all possible action to disable such content immediately.
Such inflammatory and harmful content continued to appear on the social networking sites despite the advisory and request made by the Department of Electronics & Information Technology. The circulation of hate messages and availability of inflammatory and harmful content led to disturbance of peace and harmony at several places in the country causing threat to life and national security. The webpages hosting such content inciting violence and creating law & order problem were identified. Keeping in view the sensitivity and need for restoring peace, harmony and public order, the Government on recommendation of Ministry of Home Affairs issued orders under section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2000 directing intermediaries including international social networking sites to block 76 webpages on 18.08.2012, 80 webpages on 19.8.2012 and 89 webpages on 20.8.2012.
These intermediaries and international social networking sites were also requested to provide registration details and access logs of the person who uploaded such content. The initial response from international social networking sites indicates that such content have been hosted from outside the country and to a large extent from a neighbouring country (Pakistan). An intermediary social networking site has responded that the up-loaders of the inflammatory and hateful content are outside the jurisdiction of the country, thereby implying that they are not obliged to take any constructive step to deal with it. The proxy servers and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services which hides the user identity operating from no. of countries appear to have been used for uploading the content. The agencies are continuously monitoring hosting of such inflammatory and harmful content.
The Department of Electronics & Information Technology has been working with international social networking sites on this issue. However, a lot more and quicker action is expected from them to address such a sensitive issue which concern restoring peace, harmony, public order and national security.