Telecom minister of India, Manoj Sinha has stated that the telecom department has asked Internet service providers (ISPs) across the country to block about 11,045 websites since January 2016. He went on to clarify that the instructions to block these websites were on orders issued by the IT Ministry or from various court rulings in this time period. According to a report by The Economic Times, Sinha stated, “From 1st January 2016 to date, instructions have been issued by the Department of Telecommunications to ISPs for blocking of about 11,045 websites, URLs, web pages” in a written reply sent to the Lok Sabha.
The report goes on to state that after the ISPs are directed to block new websites or URLs with the help of “suitable technology” that is based on the “technical requirements” of the situation. According to the Section 69A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, a group coordinator at the Cyber Law Division that is under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is the one who issues these directions for blocking any websites or URLs.
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Sinha also added in the written reply, “As per the directions of Meity, instructions for blocking of URLs, websites, web pages are issued by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Further, as per the direction of various Hon’ble Courts, instructions are also issued to Internet Service Providers for compliance of the court orders from time to time.”
This report comes days after it was revealed that Department of Telecom was asking for inputs on how to block mobile apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Instagram in the cases where national security or public order are in danger.