Websites blocked by MeitY in 2019
In a reply to our latest RTI on blocked websites Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) revealed that the Ministry issued blocking orders for 20 websites between January to October 2019. No further information was provided by the Ministry.
The following information was sought by us:
1) Number of websites/URLs currently blocked in India.
2) Names and URLs of the websites blocked in 2019.
3)Copies of blocking orders issued in 2019.
In a reply to our RTI filed in 2017 we were informed that until August 2017 the number of websites/URLs blocked in India stood at 23,030. A reply to another RTI filed by us in 2018 disclosed that 14,221 websites were blocked between 2010 to 2018. This indicates a significant drop in the number of blocking orders from approx. 1,777 websites per year between 2010 and 2018, to 20 in 2019.
Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 enables blocking of websites/URLs. This Section mentions that the Central Government or an officer authorized by it may, through a speaking order recorded in writing, block public access to information on a computer resource, by directing any agency of government or intermediary. Such public access is blocked when it is necessary ‘in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above’. In cases of non-compliance, intermediaries are liable for punishment with imprisonment which may extend to 7 years and a fine.
“The Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009’ provides the procedures and safeguards subject to which such blocking orders are to be carried out.
A copy of the response to our latest RTI is provided below.