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Airtel, Vodafone and other operators follow Jio in blocking porn websites

An order by the High Court of Uttarakhand regarding the blocking of access to 827 pornographic websites is slowly being enforced by more and more operators.

  • Published: October 31, 2018 1:44 PM IST
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In what appears to be a repeat of what happened in India in 2015, mobile and broadband operators are enforcing a September order by the Uttarakhand High Court to block access to 827 pornographic websites. The order was issued in an attempt to clamp down on child pornography, which these 827 websites are said to be not doing enough to curb. While the blocking of access started with Reliance Jio, reports now suggest that Airtel, Vodafone and other operators have also now enforced the order.

Back in 2015, the government ordered a similar block of pornographic websites, stating that this was to protect its citizens and to prevent pornography from becoming a ‘nuisance’. The move came after various cases of rape and sexual assault were made public, and was pushed as a means of discouraging the propagation of unhealthy sexual behavior. After widespread criticism on the curbing of rights and freedoms, the ban was lifted days later.

The list, originally numbered at 857 websites, has been reduced to 827 after the Ministry of Electronics and IT found that 30 of these sites did not contain any pornographic content. The Uttarakhand High Court order was passed in late September, and sent to the Ministry of Electronics and IT in October. Jio was the first operator to block access, and has now been followed by Airtel, Vodafone, and other broadband service providers. With this, all major internet services providers are now enforcing the Department of Telecom order to block access to the 827 sites.

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Visitors to these sites will be greeted with either a message stating that access is not authorized as per compliance of the DoT order, or a connection error. The move has triggered outrage on social media once again, both in the form of criticism for the curbing of freedom, as well as through memes and jokes being circulated. Many critics have also pointed out that increased incidents of sexual assault and rape have no proven correlation to access to pornographic content.

  • Published Date: October 31, 2018 1:44 PM IST