See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

India: Blocking access to Blogs on Blogspot and Typepad in India

I have been exercising considerable restraint before posting on the issue of blocking of Blogspot.com, Typepad.com and Geocities.com in India. It all started around the 13th of July, when some people complained that they weren't able to access their blogspot blogs. Since the service is known to have been down on previous occassions, it was only on the 15th that the issue picked up some momentum. Mridula, unable to access a particular blog called up the service centre

I contacted the Spectranet callcenter and this is big, they confirmed that they have blocked the site because they have a letter from Ministry of communication! I wish I had heard it worng. Call your ISP providers that are blocking it and check it out for yourself.

Initially, a lot of bloggers dismissed these claims, but over the weekend more such reports began streaming in. DesiPundit has been tracking the blogs with posts on the issue. Saket writes about the Indian Government doing a Big Brother.

To be honest, blogs don’t really matter that much in India. The blogosphere hasn’t matured enough to have any real impact on Indian society. I’d like to imagine that most bloggers and blogsurfers are young urban folks. The sorts which make noises at times, but can never be a significant threat to the government. The government can do what it pretty much wants to do. If they don’t like it, bloggers can babble as much as they want to. Nobody cares.

A very comprehensive guide to seeking information from the government on the issue on basis of the Right to Information Act. Dina Mehta shares the letter she wrote to her ISP and CERT-IN (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team). Amit has a post on circumventing the block – for publishing as well as reading. He also does a quick FAQ for bloggers and blog-readers on the block. Sepia Mutiny tells us why the terrorists have won. Ultrabrown points to the inherent danger in relying on some of the web-based services.

These repeated incidents are also a cautionary tale about the dangers of relying on Web apps centralized on a small handful of domains. What’ll you do when your government blocks Gmail?

A hilarious post by Anand at Mdeii Life on how he discovers how the blogs on his blogroll are all written by terrorists.

Apparently, (it is as yet unconfirmed) but people generally are of the opinion that, the government is indeed blocking blogs in a crackdown on terrorists. I really never knew terrorists blogged, that was until now. I quickly ran through my blogroll and started reading many blogs between the lines, and horror of horrors, quite a few of them are in fact… terrorist! (The Horror! The Horror!) … I wholeheartedly support the government's crackdown on terrorist-blogging. By severely curtailing free speech, we shall forever be free from fear and terror…. Let us show our middle finger to blog-terror in the full confidence that they will never be able to use proxies to circumvent this very astute act of Indian intelligence.

What appeared to be on the 15th just some ISPs blocking access, on Monday, in a matter of about two hours, five to six more ISPs started blocking the above stated sites. People could still publish to their blog via Blogger.com, but not see their blog at Blogspot.com. Shivam shares his experience, calling up government officials to get some sort of response from them.

Finally I managed to get through to Dr Gulshan Rai. He was downright rude. He said he
couldn’t understand what my problem was, and in any case he could not solve it on phone.

Me: “So should I send you an email?”
(which, btw, I already did last night, to CERT-IN)

Gulshan Rai: “Do whatever.”So that’s that for now.

Ethan writes on India joining an elite club. Vijay Rao wonders if the block is restricted to major cities only. A little more humour and irony to the rescue via Dhoomketu.

Secondly, I must also thank you for ignoring Livejournal and WordPress. Those are second-rate platforms and I am happy that by banning Blogspot you have clearly showed that those other two platforms don't matter. Somewhere, Larry Page and Sergey Brin would be smiling a lot.

Brough wonders why the Mainstream Media in India is not reacting. Meanwhile, I am doing pretty regular updates on my blog Within / Without (shameless plug). Patrix questions the logic in blocking technology or anything else because terrorists use them.

Let us take the government’s argument a bit further and help them in curtailing the menance of terrorism by blocking or banning stuff. Let them outlaw all use of cell phones because if you have seen RGV’s Company, you know that you can run an entire gang from Malaysia. Terrorists use cars to make a hasty retreat so lets ban cars in major cities.

Many Indian Bloggers are now collaborating here to find ways circumvent the block and address the issue by working together to figure out how the block can be lifted. I find it particularly interesting that one of the ways of accessing blogs is to go to http://pkblogs.com, which was set up by Pakistani bloggers to help them circumvent the block in their country. Check this wiki for updates on the ISPs and what bloggers are saying.

Tomorrow is another day and a different IP. Hopefully though the block would have disappeared. Someone do the rope trick. Quick!

24 comments

  • […] Update 17 – I’ve done a post at Global Voices on the issue. Jason Goldman at Blogger Buzz who assured me today morning that there was no maintenance work going on at Blogspot, acknowledges the problem. Quite a few international bloggers have picked up the news. A good list of links available at DesiPundit. […]

  • […] Neha vishanathan, Global Voices editor for South Asia written a nice article explains the situation. Needless to say, most Indian bloggers are deeply upset about this apparent block. The fact that Pakistan has a similar block in place – put in place in the wake of the Danish cartoons, fiercely combatted by the Don’t Block the Blogs campaign – isn’t much consolation. […]

  • What Can India Learn From China?

    If You Can’t Beat Blogs, Block Them Global Voice reports the blockage of Blogspot/TypePad-hosted blogs in India. The official response is Somebody must have blocked some sites. What is your problem? Mdeii wholeheartedly supports the Indian nanny:I who…

  • […] Much, much more at DesiPundit, Global Voices and Boing Boing. […]

  • […] Welcome to India, the land of the free, where the government blocks access to bits of the Internet whenever it gets in that techno-bashing mood. What, you haven’t heard? If you’re in India and you get your news from Typepad or Blogspot, of course you haven’t! Heaping stupidity upon lunacy, only Typepad and Blogspot have been blocked – LiveJournal and WordPress are still available. […]

  • […] Rather than me re-write the history so far, Neha Viswanathan (who appears to be based in India) has written this up on the fantastic Global Voices Online Blog. […]

  • Inept censorship won’t work

    The Indian government have blocked all Blogspot blogs, but if it is an attempt at censorship it won’t work.

  • […] Затоа еве еден пост на GlobalVoices кој сублимира неколку линкови и го следи развојот на овие настани: India: Blocking access to Blogs on Blogspot and Typepad in India […]

  • […] In an attempt to crack-down on terrorists after the bombings in Mumbai last week, the Indian government are blocking blogs, reports Global Voices. […]

  • […] In Indien ist gestern offenbar der Zugang zu einigen bekannten Blog-Hostern gesperrt worden. Ich habe es bei Fons gelesen, der hat es bei Andrew Lih gelesen – und der hat es, wie auch Richard und Robert, zuerst bei BoingBoing entdeckt. Sowohl der Eintrag bei BoingBoing als auch der Eintrag bei Global Voices wird laufend aktualisiert. […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site