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Google India on Monday removed an unspecified number of Web pages to comply with a court case that has some observers fretting the possibility of large-scale Internet censorship in the world's largest democracy, the Associated Press reports.
In a ruling Monday, a New Delhi court gave Google and more than 20 other companies -- including major websites like Facebook, YouTube and Blogspot -- two weeks to present additional plans for policing their network for photographs, videos or text deemed to be "anti-religious" or "anti-social." The AP sums up the Indian government's decision, like so: "For India's more than 100 million Internet users, the government says, U.S. Internet standards are not acceptable."
Google India did not indicate which sites were removed but said it would be willing to go after anything that violated local law or its own standards. Indian Communications Minister Sachin Pilot told the AP that "there is no question of any censorship" and that the Internet companies "all have to operate within the laws of the country."
Reuters notes that in spite of the new rules to block offensive content, Internet access in India is still largely uncensored in contrast to the tight controls in place in neighboring China. Indian political leaders in support of the new rules say that their socially-conservative country has a long history of religious division and that publishing offensive material online presents a public danger.