India topped a survey of countries having firewalls and censorship systems to block web pages. Internet Service Providers
(ISPs) in the country have installed the highest number of censorshp systems, and have blocked the highest number of web pages.
According to a new investigation covering 10 countries by University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab along with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Indian Express found that India had 42 installations of technology marketed by
Canadian company Netsweeper that implement content censorship for national-level, consumer-facing ISPs. These installations were found in internet services offered by 12 ISPs in the country. India also had the highest number of blocked unique URLs
at 1,158 out of 2,464.
The data being released today accounts only for representative samples of censorship during the testing period between August 2017 and April 2018.
Other than those websites pertaining to porn or privacy, Indian ISPs have been found blocking access to websites and web pages belonging to domestic and foreign NGOs, United Nations organizations, human rights groups, health forums, feminist
groups, and political activists at different points during the test period.
Reddit India's twitter handle (@redditindia) and Twitter handles of @anilkohli54, @tajinderbagga and @i_panchajanya, three accounts followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi , were found blocked at some point or the other during the test period,
and instructions to block these Twitter handles are said to have been issued in August 2012.
Indian ISPs also blocked access to web pages of several media companies including those belonging to ABC News, Telegraph (UK), Al Jazeera, Tribune (Pakistan) with some of them dating back to 2012. The investigation also found ISPs blocking content
related to the Rohingya refugee issue, and the deaths of Muslims in Burma and India more generally, and even snapshots of these content stored in Internet Archive's Wayback Machine have been found to be blocked.