Largest Indian State Begins Monitoring All Porn Searches

LUCKNOW, India — The police forces in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, have announced the creation of a team to monitor internet searches for “pornographic material.”

The Uttar Pradesh police announced Saturday that it had “hired a company to ‘keep an eye’ on citizens’ internet searches and keep data of the people who search for porn content,” reported local culture news site The Swaddle.

Uttar Pradesh police claim the initiative is “meant to curb crimes against women” and has outsourced its monitoring of porn searches to a third party, for-profit company called Oomuph.

“If Oomuph spots an internet user consuming pornography,” The Swaddle reports, “the police’s analytics team will receive information on the user and search. Porn searches on the internet will also now yield an ‘awareness message’ that searchers are being tracked by the police.”

The northern Indian state is home to 200 million people, and is adjacent to major urban center New Dehli. Its police department has put itself at the center of several technological initiatives, supposedly to “protect women,” but which critics have questioned on privacy grounds.

Last month, The Swaddle reported, police at Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow announced “it would use AI-enabled cameras to track women’s facial expressions to determine if they are in distress. The move was severely criticized by researchers and policymakers who said such monitoring could lead to over-policing and unnecessary harassment by the police.”

Pornography is banned by the Indian government, although many Indians ignore the ban, making the nation one of the largest consumers of adult content worldwide.

Main Image: The current top brass of the Uttar Pradesh Police (Source: Uttar Pradesh Police)

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