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Centre orders blocking of over 250 websites

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NEW DELHI, Aug 20 � Finding little success with social networking sites, the Centre continued with its ongoing move, ordering blocking of over 250 websites, even as a Central team of officials is leaving for the State on Tuesday to assess the relief and rehabilitation needs.

At a hurriedly taken initiative, the Centre has constituted a team comprising six Joint Secretaries drawn from various Central Ministries including Home Affairs, Minority Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, DoNER, Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution among others to tour Assam to assess the State�s need.

Sources said the Central team is scheduled to hold meeting with top officials of the State Government to take stock of the relief and rehabilitation measures and Assam Government�s future requirements.

On Monday, Union Home Secretary, RK Singh said India would share with Pakistan evidences on involvement of elements of that country in uploading morphed images posted on the internet to incite a minority community that led to exodus of Northeast people from different parts of the country.

The Home Secretary told newsmen that during the telecon with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde conveyed that New Delhi would share with Islamabad all evidences related to involvement of certain groups and individuals who uploaded morphed images and videos.

A high-level meeting held today to take stock of the situation ordered blocking of over 250 websites for uploading morphed pictures. Drive against erring portals had led to blocking of over 130 websites till now, while the rest will be blocked shortly.

The government is also planning to take up the Computer Emergency Response Team-India, (CERT-In) findings at the international forum as it has turned out to be the biggest instance of cyber warfare on India in recent times.

A Pakistan-based fundamentalists� outfit, Jammate-e-Islami is suspected to be behind the doctoring of images and spreading hate message across social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to incite Muslims and create scare among people of North Eastern Region all over India.

The Centre�s decision to act tough follows reluctance by the social networking sites to share details. Several websites including the prominent ones are not cooperating in the matter citing international laws, said an official.

For instance, the Government was told that Twitter accounts can�t be blocked as the micro-blogging site is not responding to the instructions. Even networking sites like Google and Facebook are not ready to divulge details related to the origin of hate messages, added sources.

Spokesmen of the social networking sites have told newsmen that they have received government�s request and were in the process of looking into them. The Centre�s initiatives have been hampered by the fact that most of the social network sites have servers located out of the country, said an official.

IT experts have discovered that a bulk of the online content started getting posted from July 13 and fake profiles were created for spreading morphed pictures.

The rumours about possible attacks led to mass exodus of North Easterners from many cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune.

India�s move to press Pakistan to act against the posting of hate messages also appears to have come to a naught with Islamabad describing the charges as �unfounded�. Yesterday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde raised the issue with Pakistan�s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik when he had called on him.

Malik was later quoted as having said that he asked India to provide evidence that elements in Pakistan had used social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments.

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Centre orders blocking of over 250 websites

NEW DELHI, Aug 20 � Finding little success with social networking sites, the Centre continued with its ongoing move, ordering blocking of over 250 websites, even as a Central team of officials is leaving for the State on Tuesday to assess the relief and rehabilitation needs.

At a hurriedly taken initiative, the Centre has constituted a team comprising six Joint Secretaries drawn from various Central Ministries including Home Affairs, Minority Affairs, Health and Family Welfare, DoNER, Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution among others to tour Assam to assess the State�s need.

Sources said the Central team is scheduled to hold meeting with top officials of the State Government to take stock of the relief and rehabilitation measures and Assam Government�s future requirements.

On Monday, Union Home Secretary, RK Singh said India would share with Pakistan evidences on involvement of elements of that country in uploading morphed images posted on the internet to incite a minority community that led to exodus of Northeast people from different parts of the country.

The Home Secretary told newsmen that during the telecon with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde conveyed that New Delhi would share with Islamabad all evidences related to involvement of certain groups and individuals who uploaded morphed images and videos.

A high-level meeting held today to take stock of the situation ordered blocking of over 250 websites for uploading morphed pictures. Drive against erring portals had led to blocking of over 130 websites till now, while the rest will be blocked shortly.

The government is also planning to take up the Computer Emergency Response Team-India, (CERT-In) findings at the international forum as it has turned out to be the biggest instance of cyber warfare on India in recent times.

A Pakistan-based fundamentalists� outfit, Jammate-e-Islami is suspected to be behind the doctoring of images and spreading hate message across social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube to incite Muslims and create scare among people of North Eastern Region all over India.

The Centre�s decision to act tough follows reluctance by the social networking sites to share details. Several websites including the prominent ones are not cooperating in the matter citing international laws, said an official.

For instance, the Government was told that Twitter accounts can�t be blocked as the micro-blogging site is not responding to the instructions. Even networking sites like Google and Facebook are not ready to divulge details related to the origin of hate messages, added sources.

Spokesmen of the social networking sites have told newsmen that they have received government�s request and were in the process of looking into them. The Centre�s initiatives have been hampered by the fact that most of the social network sites have servers located out of the country, said an official.

IT experts have discovered that a bulk of the online content started getting posted from July 13 and fake profiles were created for spreading morphed pictures.

The rumours about possible attacks led to mass exodus of North Easterners from many cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune.

India�s move to press Pakistan to act against the posting of hate messages also appears to have come to a naught with Islamabad describing the charges as �unfounded�. Yesterday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde raised the issue with Pakistan�s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik when he had called on him.

Malik was later quoted as having said that he asked India to provide evidence that elements in Pakistan had used social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments.

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