The blanket ban

There has been a lot of confusion regarding the blogspot blanket ban that’s still in place in India (except Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

From what I could gather by scanning blogs and mailing lists:

  1. DoT issued a directive for blocking 18 websites that included some blogs hosted on blogspot.com domain
  2. The dorky ISP’s goofed up, as they didn’t know how to block individual subdomains. They blocked the entire blogspot.com domain, preventing access to millions of blogs, including mumbaihelp.blogspot.com.
  3. The government has claimed no responsibility for blocking the entire blogspot.com domain (read this news article)

But still a few questions remain pertaining to two aspects

The first aspect: Dorkiness of the ISP’s

Are the ISP’s accountable to their consumers who may have suffered a loss of revenue from their blog ads because of this blanket ban?

The second aspect: The act of censorship by the government

This hasn’t come to light untill now. What procedure does the government follow inorder to block a certain website. Is a court order needed? Or can it be done by the whims and fancies of a bureaucrat?

Why wasn’t the media aggressive about this issue? Surely we had articles in all major newspapers. But hardly anyone of them managed to do any fact finding.(Actually they really helped a lot)
Will update this post later.

Update 1:

Access to blogs is slowly being restored, although the 18 damned sites still remain blocked.

What now?

Two things

Firstly, the irresponsible action of the ISP’s calls for an increased accountabilty. This is extremely essential for internet based businesses to really take off in India. Clearly, someone needs to sue the ISP’s for their stupidity/ignorance.
Secondly, there has to be some kind of transparency in the way the government actually goes about blocking a website. It’s lame to assume that the government is always noble. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, unless proper checks and balances are put in place along with increased transparency in functioning.

Many bloggers have filed RTI applications to know what exactly led those 18 websites into the blacklist. Let’s see what comes out of it.
[tags]censorship, government, blogs[/tags]

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