July 17, 2006

India ISP Blogspot Blocking - Conjecture

I've read a bit on the story of ISP's in India blocking certain blog services. Many people have confirmed that it's happening, so it's apparently true. But it doesn't make sense. India is a democracy, so one wouldn't expect the sort of extreme censorship found in e.g. China.

I briefly considered it might be a case of bans of a few particular blogs accidentally leading to widespread overblocking by cutting off entire servers, since many blogs are hosted on a single server (i.e. banning meant to be by-name was instead implemented by-IP address). But that can't be right, since while one ISP might make that mistake, several ISP's wouldn't *all* make that mistake, especially after complaints started coming in.

It sure can't be a terrible fear of the Voice Of The People, since only some services are being censored. If the government was afraid of self-agonizing emergent intarwebizens, all such services would be blocked. So that explanation is nonsense.

I wonder if we'll find out that somebody said that terrorists were using *blogs* to communicate, so in a panic, prompted by the recent terrorist bombings in Mumbai, some government official issued a hasty "national security" directive to block certain blog services. That would fit the observed pattern, because those sort of panic directives are both overbroad, and people won't want to talk about them. It also implies that this should clear up in few days, as sanity prevails. We'll see.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on July 17, 2006 11:33 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Seth, you're bang on. The government wanted about 20 sites blocked, not for terrorist activities, but for hate-speech reasons. The stupid ISPs, too lazy to put in sub-domain blocks, blocked IP addresses instead.

It's been resolved, and we should be back to almost normal in a day or two.

Posted by: Kingsley Joseph at July 19, 2006 05:20 PM