India is asking to ISPs operating in the country to block a list of websites, including GitHub and Vimeo, to prevent the publication of the ISIS material.

In this week we have discussed about the Chinese censorship China and the alleged block of Gmail service in the country, unfortunately the Government of Beijing isn’t the unique one to monitor the Internet experience of its population and ban content considered not aligned with its policy. Now, it seems that India is started its censorship campaign.

 

On Wednesday, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team requested internet service providers and mobile operators to block access to dozens of popular web services in the name of its censorship laws, according to an official advisory issued by Pranesh Prakash, director of the Centre for Internet and Society.

The list of blocked websites includes the following URLs:

  • justpaste.it
  • hastebin.com
  • codepad.org
  • freehosting.com
  • vimeo.com
  • dailymotion.com
  • pastebin.com
  • gist.github.com
  • archive.org
  • ipaste.eu
  • github.com (gist-it)
  • pastie.org
  • pastee.org
  • paste2.org
  • thesnippetapp.com
  • snipt.net
  • tny.cz (Tinypaste)
  • slexy.org
  • paste4btc.com
  • 0bin.net
  • heypasteit.com
  • sourceforge.net/projects/phorkie
  • atnsoft.com/textpaster
  • hpage.com
  • ipage.com
  • webs.com
  • weebly.com
  • 000webhost.com
  • snipplr.com
  • termbin.com
  • snippetsource.net
  • cryptbin.com

The list of banned websites includes some of the most popular web services like GitHub, PasteBin, Vimeo, Imgur, DailyMotion, Internet Archive. The web services were blocked according to an order from the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The principal mobile operators of the country, including Vodafone and BSNL, have already applied the Government Censorship that was decided by authorities because the websites host anti-India material content posted by the members of a terrorist organization called Islamic State group, also known as ISIS. A notice sent to all Internet Service Licensees mentions the Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000, which reads:

Power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource.

The choice is very questionable, apparently to stop a group of terrorists India decides to deprive the nation of valuable services, then hitting innocent people. In the list of banned websites there is also GitHub and it is unclear how this site may harm, more than others, to the nation.

The websites that have been blocked were based on an advisory by Anti Terrorism Squad, and were carrying Anti India content from ISIS. The sites that have removed objectionable content and/or cooperated with the ongoing investigations, are being unblocked,” Arvind Gupta, the National Head of BJP India IT Cell, said on Twitter.

Why block the Internet access to Indians to ban a limited number of pages that host disconcerting content, it seems that the Indian Government is shooting in the wrong direction.

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I hope that the India will review its decision soon, a nation with a high technical skills can not be stopped by these anachronistic decisions. The Indian Government has resources and professionalism to fight the threat ISIS in other ways.
I hope that the unfortunate choice is a transient and that the Indian friends do not pay for wrong choices.

If all governments follow the example of India, ISIS would have achieved something sensational … the paralysis of major web services without having lifted a finger.

Pierluigi Paganini