English Deutsch Espanol Francais Italiano Portugues Russian Arabic Japanese Korean Simplified Chinese

Jun 3, 2009

No sex for Indians on Microsoft Bing

Bing, the new search engine from Microsoft Corp, doesn’t return any result for one of the most searched terms from India: sex.

However, if you tell the search engine that you’re from the USA, or any one of the European countries (users can easily change country without even logging in), and bingo, several links are returned. If you say you are from China or an Arabian country, or Hong Kong or Singapore, again, no luck.

According to Google Insights for Search, “sex” has been a high-volume search string from India, ranking above 60 on a scale of 0 to 100 since 2004. The volume has been growing and in 2008 it was among the most-searched terms on Google, a search engine that demonstrates no inhibitions in returning links related to sex, much like its competitor Yahoo.

A blogger who goes by the handle Soumyadip first reported on this quirk of Bing and since then, Indian twitterverse has been aflutter with protests.

From a strictly legal point of view, however, Bing is doing the right thing, says Pawan Duggal, a Supreme Court advocate who specialises in cyber law. “They (Bing) seem to be doing this to comply with the provisions of the Information Technology Act of 2000,” Duggal said.

According to the act, anyone publishing or transmitting or causing to be published or transmitted content of a pornographic nature can be punished with imprisonment up to five years and a fine of Rs1 lakh, he said.

And the definition of such content is quite wide -- “any content that is lascivious and that will appeal to prurient interest or the effect of which is to tend to deprave or corrupt the minds of those who are likely to see, read or hear the same,” Duggal said.

And it’s not just the publishers of such content that can get into trouble. All the intermediaries -- be it a search engine or an Internet service provider -- can be potentially liable under the Act. So far as users are concerned, viewing pornography is not an offense in India. However, with effect from 5 February, viewing child pornography has been made a punishable offence through an amendment of the Act, Duggal said.

While most search engines return links to non-pornographic sites relating to sexual health or related issues as the top results, porn sites do incessant search engine optimisation and invariably, there is at least one link to a pornographic site when searched for “sex.”

“Bing has done the right thing. Not doing so exposes a search engine or any intermediary to potential legal liability,” Duggal said.

Ironic then, that while Bing has been careful about potential liability in certain countries, it has been less so with the “autoplay” feature that allows videos to be played within the search engine, FoxNews reported.

“...bloggers and Internet safety experts quickly discovered that one of Bing’s ‘features’ is that it takes only a few clicks for anyone -- of any age -- to view explicit pornographic videos without even leaving the search engine,” the story said.
Add this post:
  • Agregar a Technorati
  • Agregar a Del.icio.us
  • Agregar a DiggIt!
  • Agregar a Yahoo!
  • Agregar a Google
  • Agregar a Meneame
  • Agregar a Furl
  • Agregar a Reddit
  • Agregar a Magnolia
  • Agregar a Blinklist
  • Agregar a Blogmarks