POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 24, 2012 AT 23:13 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 24, 2012 23:13 IST

The PIB today put out a release under the title "Govt Not Targetting Individual Accounts or Websites; does not want Restrictions on Genuine users : Sibal" and provided the following comments attributed to Mr Kapil Sibal, the honourable minister for communication and information technology:

The difficulty is that twitter is a site, which operates from outside India and the server of all such sites are outside the jurisdiction of India. 

We are happy that Facebook and Google are cooperating with us and the names of the objectionable sites that we had provided them; they cooperated with us on them and decided to close down those sites. We have also imposed restriction on those sites. 

But as far as twitter is concerned, now they have said that they are ready for talks with us. 

But the solution to this problem should be a permanent one. That will only happen when we talk to all the stakeholders and form such a mechanism under which any objectionable content is removed. 

We can take action but in that case restrictions are also imposed on people who are right on their part. So, we don’t want that to happen. 

So, we have provided 28 URL numbers under which objectionable material is being shown. Now the government does not know that who is behind these URL numbers, only twitter and other sites are aware about it. 

Later if those URL numbers are innocent, and then the accusations would be thrown at the government. 

Actually we don’t have the identities; we have no way to find out the identities. So, the accusations that we are aggressively targeting someone’s account or websites are incorrect.

***

A quick response:

Dear Mr Sibal, 

Could you please help us understand the following:

So, we have provided 28 URL numbers under which objectionable material is being shown. 

Sir, which are these 28 URLs? Could you be referring to the sort of URLs that were present in the directives sent by the department of telecommunications that functions under your ministry? Perhaps, in addition to the URLs of 20 Twitter handles, you were including those that were of Twitter searches? (Not that it still adds up to 28, but that, as you would undoubtedly tell us, is of zero consequence).

If not, could you please clarify what these "28 URL numbers under which objectionable material is being shown" are?

Also, Sir, when you go on to say:

Now the government does not know that who is behind these URL numbers, only twitter and other sites are aware about it...Actually we don’t have the identities; we have no way to find out the identities. So, the accusations that we are aggressively targeting someone’s account or websites are incorrect.

While it is possible, Sir, that because many of these Twitter handles are, well, just handles and screen names, you may not know who is behind these "URL numbers", but surely, Sir, if not in your many years of public life, even you by now would have heard of people like Mr Kanchan Gupta and Mr Shiv Aroor, two journalists whose names are included in this list, if not some of the others who are clearly identified in the block list, including the likes of Mr Togadia etc. Surely, Sir, it is not your case that your government is so clueless?

Sir, I am not really sure what the following means:

Later if those URL numbers are innocent, and then the accusations would be thrown at the government. 

Sir, I am not sure but perhaps an eminent lawyer such as you would be able to tell us better whether or not "URL numbers" can be criminal or innocent, and we do look forward to hearing from you. But even then, you would grant, Sir, that even you concede the possibility that these "URL numbers" might prove to be innocent. So why are you asking for them to be banned, Sir?

Also, Sir, a pedant would tell you there are no "URL Numbers", but that is only a trivial point.

***

*Post Script:

This post was earlier just titled: Dear Mr Sibal, but after receiving the following query on Twitter, I thought it actually made sense to change its title.

POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 24, 2012 AT 23:13 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 24, 2012 23:13 IST
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soundarya
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5/D-97
Aug 26, 2012
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Kapil Sibal's arrogance stems from his captive Muslim votes of Chandni Chowk,and so he was able to defeat Smriti Irani.If only the Hindus of that constituency strategically vote against Kapil Sibal,he will find his final destination in political dustbin.

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Aug 25, 2012
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Every neo Nazi knows that Hitler's greatest contribution to Germany was to make the trains run on time. Sibal has no such contribution till date. You're giving a bad name to Hitler

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