New Delhi, Aug 24 (IBNS) Union Communication and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said the government is not targetting individual accounts or social media websites and that it does not want restrictions on genuine users.
“The difficulty is that twitter is a site, which operates from outside India and the server of all such sites are outside the jurisdiction of India. We are happy that Facebook and Google are cooperating with us and the names of the objectionable sites that we had provided them; they cooperated with us on them and decided to close down those sites," said Sibal in a statement.
"We have also imposed restriction on those sites. But as far as twitter is concerned, now they have said that they are ready for talks with us. But the solution to this problem should be a permanent one. That will only happen when we talk to all the stakeholders and form such a mechanism under which any objectionable content is removed," he said.
"We can take action but in that case restrictions are also imposed on people who are right on their part. So, we don’t want that to happen. So, we have provided 28 URL numbers under which objectionable material is being shown.
"Now the government does not know that who is behind these URL numbers, only twitter and other sites are aware about it," Sibal said.
"Later if those URL numbers are innocent, and then the accusations would be thrown at the government. Actually we don’t have the identities; we have no way to find out the identities. So, the accusations that we are aggressively targeting someone’s account or websites are incorrect," said the minister.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Friday said micro-blogging site Twitter has removed six accounts impersonating its official account.
"The Prime Minister`s Office had requested Twitter to take appropriate action against 6 persons impersonating the PMO. When they did not reply for a long time the Government Cyber Security Cell was requested to initiate action," the PMO said in a statement.
"Twitter has now conveyed to us that action has been taken stating 'we have removed the reported profiles from circulation due to violation of our Terms of Service regarding impersonation'," said the PMO.
Twitter earlier agreed to cooperate with the Indian government on complaints of objectionable content on the six accounts.
The move came after the the Indian government said it would take legal and all other actions against sites like Twitter if they did not cooperate on tracking and deleting the offensive and inflammatory content posted on the microblogging site in the wake of Assam violence.
Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar told TV channels that Twitter is not cooperating and action would be taken against them.
The social networking site communicated to the PMO that it would be actively working on locating and blocking "unlawful content" after the government itself blocked the six accounts, at least one of which was said to have posted communally sensitive tweets.
Twitter was "now actively reviewing" the request and will be seeking additional information from the Ministry of Communication and IT "to locate the unlawful content and the specific unlawful tweet", official sources were quoted as saying.
"India is important to us and we would like to have clearer communication in these matters in future," Twitter reportedly said, adding that the company should be put in touch with appropriate departments in this regard.
Earlier, Internet giants Facebook and Google on Tuesday had said that they are working on requests from the Indian government to remove "inflammatory and hateful content" from their websites that purportedly sparked mass panic amongst northeast Indians living in south and west India.
Facebook, which has about 50 million users in India, acknowledged receiving the requests and said it is working through those requests and responding to the agencies.
Search-engine giant Google, which provides services such as YouTube and Orkut said: "We understand the gravity of the situation... and continue to work closely with relevant authorities."
“Content intended to incite violence, such as hate speech, is prohibited on Google products where we host content, including YouTube, Google+ and Blogger," it added.
Anti-Northeast people rumours, SMSes and images along with real threats triggered a panic exodus of NE people from Indian cities like Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad.
India has blocked 254 website for inflammatory content hosting that triggered a fear psychosis among the people of Northeast who left Indian cities for their home states after they were threatened by some groups with a possible backlash for the Assam situation where the tribal Bodos and Muslim settlers were clashing for over a month causing deaths and displacement.
The government said it is monitoring provocative and harmful content continuously.