Photo Credit: Fusion.net
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Within four days of banning 850+ websites deemed to be pornographic and having been accused of moral policing for it, the government reversed the order on Tuesday, making an exception only for websites engaged in child pornography.

It, however, passed the responsibility of identifying and blocking child porn sites to internet service providers. In turn, the service providers protested, saying that they didn’t have the wherewithal to identify child porn sites. Nor was it fair to hold them responsible if some site surreptitiously purveyed child porn, they said.

The Indian government has been feeling the heat for the past few days for being viewed as control freaks with an objectionable streak of moral policing. On Tuesday, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called a meeting to review the apparently knee-jerk decision to ban 857 sites that were listed by a petitioner who had gone to the Supreme Court against pornographic websites.

The lifting of the ban, while welcomed by proponents of freedom of speech, however, was lambasted by the Internet Service Providers Association of India. “How can the government put the responsibility on us to see whether a website carries child pornography or not?” Rajesh Chharia, president of the association, told TOI. “Why should an Internet service provider by punished if a website suddenly transmits child pornography?”

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