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The News Minute | March 16, 2015 | 3:30 pm IST The Telangana state government has made plans to curb obscene material and pornographic content from the internet based on a suggestion from a committee to improve women’s safety. However, the state has seemingly hit multiple hurdles with officials managing to identify only 1,500 websites. When the question came up in the council session on Saturday, home minister Naini Narasimha Reddy responded that the state government has blocked as many as 150 such websites. The suggestion to ban pornography in the state was  brought up in a recent report by a Telangana committee, which aims to improve women’s safety. One of the recommendations by the committee in the report was: “There is a strong concern that viewing of porn sites is leading to crime against woman. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the government to block the porn sites.” (Image: Telangana State Portal) "We had suggested that porn sites should be banned as women are portrayed as sex objects and this may indirectly instigate online harassment that women face because of obscene messages through e-mails and social networking sites," Swati Lakra, one of the members of the committee tells The News Minute. A lot of the other suggestions by the committee have already been implemented like the “She Taxis”, “She Teams” and the separation of men and women in public buses with a separate compartment for women. "We identified around 1,350 sites and sent a list to the cyber crime department for further action," Lakra says. However, there is not much that the cyber crime cell of the Hyderabad police can do as most of the sites are hosted from foreign countries and are out of their jurisdiction. In January, the state government had also planned to block e-commerce websites, where adult items were up for sale. But the sites are still active as many of the websites use proxy servers and mirrored websites so there are multiple ways to access them if one is pulled down. The matter found its way to the legislative council where the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) claimed that the state government was helpless as the powers to pull down a website are with the central government and it could only write to the centre and wait. "We still haven't received any orders from officials on how to tackle this issue and things are going at a very slow pace," says B. Anuradha, ACP, Cyber Crime Cell, Hyderabad. Some women's rights activists had earlier claimed that banning porn may not have any effect in ensuring the security of women as they felt such content did not instigate people to indulge in rape or molestation while agreeing that online harassment needed to be tackled. The whole exercise, of writing to the centre, seems futile, taking into consideration the number of sites with pornographic content. The state may need to consider debating on the ban again or re-organise its plan to tackle the issue if it wishes to continue with the ban. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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