Blocking Websites With Escort Services Doesn't Solve the Problem: Deity

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Blocking Websites With Escort Services Doesn't Solve the Problem: Deity
Days after the government blocked 240 websites offering escort services, a senior IT Department official Thursday said banning sites does not solve the real problem as new ones are created almost instantly.

"Blocking of sites is a dynamic issue. You block some sites and new sites come up. This does not kind of really solve the problem once and for all," Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) Joint Secretary Rajiv Bansal said at an Icann event Thursday.

The Department of Telecom issued an order to Internet service providers to block 240 websites offering escort services on the recommendation of an expert committee under the Ministry of Home Affairs on June 13.

Bansal was responding to a question on government's stand seeking prime role of countries in matters of Internet security even when privacy protection laws in India are yet to be framed.

Civil society organisations across world have expressed concern that governments, under the garb of security, may breach the privacy of Internet users.

"That is still work in progress. Around 2-3 days back, for example, Department of Telecom directed ISPs to block 240 websites. There has been policy debate going on since long time and there is focus now. Government is now taking a calibrated approach," Bansal said.

A new Internet governance model is being worked out through international consultation and it is being coordinated by global Internet body Icann.

India has proposed that Internet should be managed through a multi-stakeholder approach and governments should have "supreme right and control" on matters relating to cyber-security.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has been assigned the task to manage Internet by the US Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under a contract, which expires on September 30.

NTIA has decided to step out of its role of Icann overseer after the contract expires and the body be managed by the global community. Work is in progress to set rules on who should manage Internet post September 30.

Consensus on some issues related to accountability has not been arrived at by various stakeholders and the process is expected to close by September this year. "India has consistently maintained that in area of security, governments (should) have say. This is the view that several countries have taken. The world is increasing becoming inter-dependent. National security is very important. In the realm of security, government has prime role," Bansal said.

He, however, admitted there is need of clear policy to address issues concerning the Internet domain. "There are also court cases going on which are also helping us evolve the public policy. There has been no finality on this. All this is work in progress but we need clear policy," Bansal said.

One of the two international groups working on Internet governance transition has submitted its first model for managing Internet to NTIA on June 10. The second group is still working on models for safeguarding Internet ecosystem, Icann, Head of India, Samiran Gupta said.

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Further reading: Deity, DoT, Escort Wesbites, Icann, India, Internet
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