Indian Government Threatens To Fine ISPs That Blocked Blogs... On Their Order

from the confusion-abounds dept

One of the big stories this week that we haven't written anything about is the "blog blockade" in India. One of the reasons we haven't touched it is because there was so little information about what was actually going on. The story eventually settled on the fact that the government had asked ISPs to block certain sites as a "precautionary measure" in dealing with terrorist attacks. However, there was some confusion over whether or not the order was just to block a few blogs or the entire sites (which is what happened). However, there's now a twist. As the story has gained more prominence and more outrage, the Indian government has responded oddly. Not only are they claiming they didn't order the full blockade (just of a few subdomains), they're now asking the ISPs to explain why the government should not take action against the ISPs for blocking the full sites. In other words, they made an order that the ISPs clearly did not understand -- and now they're going to blame and punish the ISPs for misunderstanding their orders. That would be a lot more credible if so many ISPs hadn't banned the full sites. With so many ISPs all interpreting the ban the same way, it certainly seems odd for the government to suddenly be angry about it. It sounds like they're just trying to make an excuse now that they realize how angry everyone is.

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  • identicon
    Erstazi, 20 Jul 2006 @ 6:51pm

    Sounds like the Army

    Very similar to the U.S. Army. I have been there and witnessed it myself. At least the Indian government did it with style... j/k.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sm, 20 Jul 2006 @ 7:18pm

    ISPs are responsible too

    I agree that threatening to sue ISPs for blocking entire blog sites is odd, but that does not absolve the ISPs of their responsibility. If the order wasn't clear they should have asked the government it. My opinion: the ISPs likely blocked entire sites to be on the safe side.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shawn, 20 Jul 2006 @ 7:18pm

    Obvously an excuse.

    And since, like most nations, people can't do anything to keep the goverment from making the mistake again and covering their hides, the government is going to get away without a slap on the wrist for this one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danno, 20 Jul 2006 @ 7:55pm

    I want to make a joke about first level support, but I'm on hold while this Indian guy looks through the comedy knowledge database.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ajju, 20 Jul 2006 @ 8:57pm

    Err

    The order asked the ISPs to ban specific blogs on blogspot and typepad not entire domains. Not that it justifies the censorship but in my view the fine is justified.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Richard, 20 Jul 2006 @ 8:57pm

    Kafkaist !

    LOL! Someone tries to cover his error and makes another mistake even more stupid. A smarter move would have been to simply blame bad communication or poor wording. Instead they chose to prove how incompetent they are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Clair Ching, 20 Jul 2006 @ 9:07pm

    This is just too bizaare. I guess it's difficult to do something about the matter in the first place hence the confusing actions of the Indian government. I do hope they sort everything out first. That is what should be done right now. They can't seem to figure out what to do if they don't sort out these things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew, 20 Jul 2006 @ 9:29pm

    what sites have they blocked?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Innocent User, 20 Jul 2006 @ 9:33pm

    Blocked Until Proven Guilty

    Why is this so hard for everyone to understand? The only reason that [comment blocked by Indian government] was because [comment blocked by Indian government]. It can't get any simpler than that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 20 Jul 2006 @ 9:35pm

    How would any country respond?

    If terrorists bomb public places every week, how would the government of any country respond to pro-terrorist web sites? In India, train massacres and bombings are a weekly event.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Intelli, 23 Jul 2006 @ 11:11am

      Re: How would any country respond?

      Where did you get this news?

      It would be better to refer to "some parts of India" rather than just say "India".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alok, 20 Jul 2006 @ 11:27pm

    news and views

    and from where exactly did u get this information that indian government has issued any such notices?

    as far as blocking the sites goes, i think one must understand that some decisions might seem odd in retrospection, but when you are counting bodies, it is better to be on the safer side. india was, and still is one of the countries where people enjoy much freedom to voice their opinions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brandon Rusnak, 21 Jul 2006 @ 9:22am

    I'd like to see the official order

    I'd like to see the official order the ISPs got. IF the gov't said to block http://www.blogger.com that will be interesting.

    The proof is in the paperwork.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MikeT, 21 Jul 2006 @ 10:03am

    Sort of makes sense

    One would think that the ISPs would have legal counsel contact them ask them what it means if there was such ambiguity. Hopefully, if the Indian federal government ordered something that really would sound like a blanket ban, it'll get knocked for a loop in India's legal system. However, this sounds more like a CYA on the part of the ISPs right now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2006 @ 10:42am

    What could have happened

    Phase 1: Gov't orders ISPs to setup IP based banning of sites.

    Phase 2: much time goes by

    Phase 3: Gov't orders ban of sub.domain.tld, ISP looks up IP addy of sub.domain.tld and blocks the IP addy 1.2.3.4.

    Phase 4: Gov't gets upset cause 1.2.3.4 ALSO hosts PoliticalActivistsBlog.domain.tld

    Phase 5: Political Activist finds out the Gov't jsut silinced his site, along with every other activist he knows. They have a fight, triangle wins. Phone calls are made.

    Phase 6: You read this useful column and its useless post on TechDirt

    None of this is uncommon and it seems to happen all the time, so don't anyone dare try and tell me its "unlikely".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    fromIndia, 21 Jul 2006 @ 1:10pm

    This is what happend

    List of the sites that Indian government asked ISPs to block:

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/nic/banned.pdf

    Overzealous ISPs did block more than what was required. If you see the list, instead of blocking the sub-domains, they blocked entire domains. May be they were under the pressure and could not quite figure out how to block just the sub-domains or may be they thought what the heck, let's block all - people will be safer that way :-)

    I am an Indian and I have never seen such an outcry from the Indian people about blocking the websites. Few years back, VSNL (Indian Internet gateway) blocked all the voice traffic as they controlled the phones (evil telco) in India.

    Nothing is going to happen - trust me. The government asking ISPs why they should not be punished is similar to a "show cause notice". It is a legal terminology in India used to ask for clarification before filing any charges. The ISPs will apologize and that's it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2006 @ 2:57pm

      Re: This is what happend

      thanks for the hard data. if i was an ISP i would have blocked the whole domains and feigned an accident, as part of an effort to piss everyone off about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anand Kumar, 3 Jan 2007 @ 3:17am

    temple

    Official Website of Shri Srinivasa Ragavaswamy charitable Trust in South India working towards constructing a temple for Sri Srinivasa Perumal (balaji) with Raja Gopuram which is named as Kovai Thiruppathy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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