India Wants Human Screening of Content from Google, Facebook

Ryan Whitwam

Some of the biggest technology firms in existence are reportedly squaring off against India’s telecommunications minister over the filtering of user-generated content. According to several individuals that have been present at meetings, Minister Kapit Sibal is demanding that the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo proactively screen user content for disparaging or defamatory statements.

At a meeting last month, the government apparently demanded that these companies use humans to screen the content, not an automated system. The logistics and privacy implications should be clear to anyone with an even passing familiarity with the sites in question. Executives from the aforementioned companies are expected to tell the minister’s office at an upcoming meeting that his demands are not workable due to the volume of content.

Facebook claims about 25 million Indian users, and Google has upwards of 100 million. The situation is reminiscent of RIM’s issues with the Indian government. The BlackBerry maker was threatened with expulsion from the nation if it did not provide better access to user data.

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