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Porn Ok Please: The debate on banning porn in India

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The debate about banning porn, possibility of banning porn websites, placing a mechanism to ban such content is being discussed since last few years in India. Do we even need to tell you that it is a glaring reality and a considerable number of people in the country watch porn online? The low-cost and easy accessibility of Internet over smartphones has just added to the growing numbers.

 

In India, of the 100 top websites in 2013, 6 were porn websites. Read: Shocking, 6 porn websites in the list of top 100 in India According to a survey revealing web traffic in May and June last year, 30% of the total web traffic is about browsing porn. What is alarming is the use of mobile phones in watching porn. A staggering 90 lakh people watch porn on their mobile phones.  Thirty percent of entire traffic in India is porn. Read Entire nation is watching porn: 90 lakh viewers on mobile, 30% of entire internet traffic 

 

Making, sharing and viewing porn content on mobile phones is very easy. Only some part of this content comes to notice in form of websites, video clips on web that are on Internet. DVDs clips that are shared between people, video clips that are shared via mobile data network largely go unreported (unnoticed). No wonder that the real picture of the extent of reach of porn in India is not known till date.

 

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"It is a challenge technologically to prevent the uploading of such material. The number of cases does not reflect the correct picture. There are many more who go unpunished," said an official about cyber pornography in India, according to a news report in TimesOfIndia this month. According to this report Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, account for almost 60% of the pornography cases booked in the country in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Figures from other states might paint the picture differently as this is only about cases that were booked.

 

According to one of the largest pornography websites Pornhub, it has received 14.7 billion visitors in 2013 and that those users watched 63.2 billion porn videos. According to a study on porn accessing habits of people it published in December, people are moving to Saturdays and Sundays for watching porn. This study also finds that though desktop remains the major gateway to accessing porn, Mobile is gradually picking speed in this.

 

This is not only true about India, but across the world. China.org published a news report on the top countries with most people visiting porn websites. The list of 5 countries did not mention India anywhere. The concern is growing across countries on the matter.

 

“Online porn's dominance is affecting sexual relationships and behaviour in the real world,” says Labour Party as it proposes amendment to the children and families bill. This legislation is expected to result in compulsory sex and relationships education being taught in all English schools.

 

India also needs to strengthen the laws and implement it carefully in this regard. The Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 of India in its Section 66 E makes capturing, publishing and transmitting such content  of “a private area of any person without his or her consent” has been defined as violating the privacy of the person.

 

In Section 67 A it says “Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form any material which contains sexually explicit act or conduct 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 ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.”

 

The whole focus in on stopping publishing and transmitting content. The Act remains silent about viewing such content. Read the Act here.

 

It is not only the use of smartphone to make and access such content, which is on an increase. Technology like Google Glass that has given a new hope to the porn industry with the possibility of being able to shoot point of view videos, is another threat.  While thinking and debating about cyber-porn, government needs to look into these aspects also.

 

  
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