Tuesday, 18 July, 2006


Thousands of blogs are blocked in India.
Last week, CERT-IN* (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team ) sent a list of 22 websties and blogs to be blocked to all ISPs following apprehensions by the country's intelligence agencies that these were likely being used by terrorists to communicate with one another. The move may be related to the bomb blasts in trains in Mumbai earlier this month which killed about 190 people and injured around 700. There are about 150 ISPs in India. Although the communication from the DOT to ISPs lists specific pages and Web sites, several ISPs have blocked some key blogs altogether because they were not equipped to filter specific pages.

Access to all blogs and websites hosted on the following servers is currently blocked:
Spectranet, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), Reliance Powersurfer, Airtel Broadband and Sify have blocked Blogger.

Whoever has done that for any reason, its effect is that thousands of blogs have been blocked. Clearly this is violation of Right to Freedom of Expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India as a Fundamental Right under Article 19(1)(a) which says

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.—(1) All citizens shall have the right—
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
* * * * *
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

This right is subject only to reasonable restrictions imposed by the Govt. in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

The ISPs are clearly violating this provision of the constitution by arbitrarily blocking all the blogs.

Tricks to access blocked sites:

1. http://www.proxify.com
2. http://censorship.wikia.com/wiki/Bypassing_The_Ban

*CERT-IN: Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Indian government set up the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) in 2003 with the authority to block Web sites. Any government department seeking a block on any web site has to approach CERT-IN, which then instructs the DoT to block the site after confirming the authenticity of the complaint. On receiving instructions from CERT-IN, DOT - which has regulatory control over the ISPs - has to ensure that the Web sites are blocked, and inform CERT-IN accordingly.

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