India lifts block on Vimeo; Pastebin, Internet Archive, others still banned

mmadhankumar

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The Indian government's sweeping block on websites alleged to host terrorist content has been lifted on gist.github, Vimeo, Weebly and Dailymotion -- but 28 sites still remain banned under the order.

The block on 32 websites for alleged "Jihadi Propaganda" included the four sites along with Pastebin, Internet Archive, Weebly and many others still banned in the country.

The block affects at least 290 million Indian citizens -- a total approaching the population of the United States (316 million).

India's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology issued a statement saying that the block has been lifted. Vimeo responded, telling ZDNet, "We're grateful for this decision and we look forward to having access to Vimeo restored in India soon."

India's DoT (Department of Telecom) issued an order December 17th to ban 32 websites, which took effect unevenly this week across various telecoms and ISPs, stemming from a Director General of Police, Anti Terrorism Squad (M.S. Mumbai) request first filed on November 10.

In addition to saying the block on four sites was lifted, the release from The Press Information Bureau, Government of India said:

It was stated that Anti National group are using social media for mentoring Indian youths to join the Jihadi activities.

(...) Many of these wbsites [SIC] does not require any authentication for pasting any material on them. Other upload articles, Videos or photos or to download the contents which helps to hide the identities. These websites were being used frequently for pasting, communicating such content by just changing page name even blocking the earlier one.

(...) Contact has also been made with some of the websites. These websites have undertaken not to allow pasting of such propaganda information on their website and also work with the Govt. to remove such material as per the compliance with the laws of land.


Among the 28 websites still blocked for Indian internet users are Pastebin, Internet Archive, Cryptbin, Codepad, and curiously, sourceforge.net/projects/phorkie.

The Anonymous OpIndia contingent has threatened to take action against the Indian government if the blocks aren't completely lifted.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Government websites need a fresh look for 2015. We will give them a new year gift if they don't unblock all the websites.</p>&mdash; AnonOpsIndia (@opindia_revenge) <a href="https://twitter.com/opindia_revenge/status/550726102847877120">January 1, 2015</a></blockquote>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>They gifted us Censorship on the New Years Eve... Let us all celebrate by bringing down their websites. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OpIndia?src=hash">#OpIndia</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/YourAnonNews">@YourAnonNews</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/timesofindia">@timesofindia</a></p>&mdash; AnonOpsIndia (@opindia_revenge) <a href="https://twitter.com/opindia_revenge/status/550243483902955521">December 31, 2014</a></blockquote>

Meanwhile, Redditors continue discussing the blocks (and how to get around them) on various Reddit threads confirming that some of the listed sites have been blocked by Vodafone, BSNL, ACT Fibrenet, Hathway Cable & Datacom LTD. (Bangalore), among others.

Vodafone India is the second largest mobile network operator in India (after Airtel) with an estimated 173 million customers. BNSL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) is an Indian state-owned telco witha a customer base of 117 million. ACT Fibrenet is a broadband provider claiming one million subscribers; Hathway Cable & Datacom LTD. provides cable internet and serves approximately 11 million customers (with 430,000 estimated to use its broadband ISP).

Combining only two of the affected operators (Vodafone and BNSL), the block affects at least 290 million Indian citizens.

Adding other Indian ISPs and mobile operators is likely to bring India's total for internet-censored citizenry to equal the population of the United States (316 million as of 2013).


Full Article: http://www.zdnet.com/article/india-lifts-block-on-vimeo-pastebin-internet-archive-others-still-banned
 
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