India’s government has banned search engines from allowing cell phone search results to be used as a “backdoor” to detect terrorists.
Google’s mobile search engine, Android, was first banned from India by a Supreme Court order last month, but the move has now been extended to the country’s entire web-based search infrastructure, the countrys Press Trust of India news agency reported.
The decision, announced on Friday, came days after India’s Information Technology Minister, Rajesh Kumar Gupta, was quoted in The Times of India saying the ban on mobile search engines is a “political decision” and “an attempt to control search”.
“In the past, when I was an information technology minister, we had to use mobile search and mobile messaging to ensure that people’s data was protected,” Mr Gupta was quoted as saying.
“We will continue to do so now, but there will be restrictions on mobile devices.”
Google has not responded to requests for comment.
In India, searches for cell phone numbers, emails, addresses and the phone number of a mobile operator can trigger a false positive.
“The fact that we use Google in India is an example of the importance of privacy,” Ms Gupta said.
“It has a big impact on the privacy of citizens, who are trying to understand the privacy implications of the way we use our devices.”
India’s telecommunications regulator has ordered Google to make a database of all the mobile search queries in the country, which will be used to flag potentially fake results.
In February, India’s telecom regulator also said it had ordered Google, which operates in more than 150 countries, to make the data of every search query in India available to the regulator.