India's absurd pornography law

Some of you know that I was born in India.  Like a lot of other countries, India is a place of apparent contradictions.  It is a country that has made great strides in women's legal equality, and yet remains woefully behind in addressing the actual social standards for rural women.  It is a country that has the world's largest film industry (Bollywood) and yet it is illegal for Indian films to show two people kissing with lip-to-lip.  So I guess it should surprise no one that in a country that prides itself on being a free society and the world's largest democracy, we have utterly stupid and censorship laws covering "online pornography."

This came to my attention from a CNET report about how India is forcing Google and Yahoo (and they are complying) to put up Internet censors preventing the public's access to online pornography.  Defending this law, the government of India makes a fool of themselves:

As per  to the Indian Information Technology Act 2000 , Chapter XI Para 67, the Government of India clearly considers online pornography as a punishable offence. The Para states the following -

Para 67 -  Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form.

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.
Never mind the mind-numbingly dumb attempt to block access to online content in the country where technology and technological expertise are exploding.  Never mind the sheer stupidity of a government trying to control access to pornography in a country where governors are caught on camera having sex with 3 women.  Never mind the irony of a country where the freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed rights to all its citizens curtailing those same rights.  I thought this was the country that came up with the world's most well known ancient sex and yes, pornography book, the Kama Sutra.

And what about the clearly pornographic carvings outside of ancient Indian temples?  Is the government of India going to yank them out in the fear that someone might take a picture of one of them and post them [shudder in abject irrational fear here] online?  Come on.

I think ultimately, my birthplace and former homeland is caught in a struggle between its social stigma and advancement into modernity.  I sound like I'm defending access to pornography here, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I am.  It is part of both free expression, art, and yes, object of pleasure.  But really, it's none of the government's damn business.  Unless a pornstar's genitals are a matter of Indian national security, the Indian government needs to stay the hell away from it except to regulate its access to children.


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