According to a number of reports online, it looks like telecom operators are blocking Telegram and Reddit in India among a number of blocked websites. The blocking of these websites has led to questions surrounding net neutrality in the country. The report noted that official orders to block “torrent websites” that allow for movie and music piracy are quite common. Though the inclusion of other websites including Telegram, Reddit, or even Soundcloud is problematic at best. It is worth noting that this is nothing new and Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have previously been called out for carrying out the website blocks.
The latest report highlighting the issue comes from Reuters. It points out that these blocks are usually applicable for “intermittent periods” that last for days. Though the blocks are not countrywide and instead, only seem to be applicable in “some regions”. As part of the block, users who try to access the blocked apps are greeted by a message stating, “Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India.” instead of the website.
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It also revealed that the telecom department refused to comment on the matter as part of the report. This information is not surprising and it comes just about two months after we initially reported the problem. As reported previously, the company revealed that telecom companies have been blocking a number of websites without providing any clarity about who directed them to block the websites.
At the time Internet Freedom Foundation compiled a crowd-sourced list of the offenders to see which telecom operator was prevalent in blocking these websites. This report noted that the block was also implemented on a number of VPN and proxy focused websites. Reuters report stated that about 60 percent of the total reports collected since January came from Reliance Jio subscribers.