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#PornBan: Indian government reportedly starts blocking porn sites

After Maggi, now it's Porn Ban. Tough time for hostellers and IT executives #PornBan #India

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It looks like the Indian government has sent out a notice to ISPs in the country to block pornography websites. A thread on Reddit suggests that Indian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like MTNL, BSNL have started banning porn sites in some circles. The move seems to be limited at the moment as we were able to access the sites claimed to be blocked on Airtel broadband as well as Vodafone’s cellular network in Delhi.

Visitors to some porn sites are seeing errors that the site has been blocked as per the directives of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India.

The move seems surprising, considering only last month the Supreme Court had declined to pass an interim order to block porn websites in India. “Such interim orders cannot be passed by this court. Somebody may come to the court and say look I am above 18 and how can you stop me from watching it within the four walls of my room. It is a violation of Article 21 [right to personal liberty],” Chief Justice HL Dattu had observed while hearing a PIL petition The Hindu had reported.

However, the Chief Justice had asked the central government to reply within four weeks on the issue. In an earlier hearing of the PIL in 2014, the government had told the court its inability to block all porn websites.

“As publication and transmission of pornographic material (excluding child pornography which is illegal almost everywhere in the world) is legal in these countries, it is not possible to take actions against entities operating such servers under Indian laws,” the DoT had said in a written affidavit submitted to the court.

“As all forms of data, audio, video, text, images, etc, are transmitted together, it will not only introduce large delay in the transmission of forms of data but may also adversely affect the normal audio communications made through Internet telephony. The entire traffic from the websites, emails, electronic and financial transactions, etc, will have to be examined during the process,” the affidavit said according to an Indian Express report.

Interestingly, during the April 2014 hearing, the government had said that blocking porn would require censoring content on the Internet. But in November, the government had tasked the Internet and Mobile Association of India to curate a list of porn websites that could be passed on to ISPs to block.

Ever since the news of this possible block of porn websites by the government has emerged, #PornBan has started picking steam on Twitter. However, it is still not confirmed whether any directive has been passed by DoT to ISPs to block porn sites.

  • Published Date: August 1, 2015 9:31 PM IST
  • Updated Date: August 1, 2015 11:27 PM IST