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“I believe that no reasonable person aware of these sensibilities of large sections of communities in this country and aware of community standards as they are applicable in India would wish to see this content in the public domain,” he said.

Sibal said the Internet companies had told him that they were applying U.S. standards to their sites, and he objected, saying that they needed to be sensitive to Indian sensibilities.

Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India, said Internet companies need to be mindful of concerns over national security and national sensitivities.

“I am not favoring censorship _ self-regulation is the best censorship available to our system,” he said. “We should not do anything which should harm the peace of the country.”

India has had conflicts with technology companies in the past over information access, and Sibal said Tuesday that many of the companies have been reluctant to hand over data the government has asked for related to terrorists.

Last year, India threatened to ban the popular corporate email and messenger services on Blackberry devices amid security concerns over access to encrypted information. The government later backed down.

The Indian government has made 68 requests to Google this year to remove content, according to Google. The government has also expressed concerns that Google Earth could be used by terrorists to examine targets in preparation for an attack.


Ravi Nessman can be reached at