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India vs. Blogs?

Have Indian officials have banned access to popular websites hosted by Blogger, Geocities, and Typepad? Bloggers are up in arms.

In the wake of last week’s bombings in Mumbai, it appears India’s Department of Telecommunications embarked upon a widespread Internet censorship campaign, blocking blogging websites like Blogspot, Geocities, and Typepad. Attempting to load a website hosted by one of these blogging platforms returns the message “Site Blocked,” and it remains unclear if these access issues are indeed government sanctioned since officials have yet to address the blogging community. Outraged bloggers suggest that Indian officials are at the center of the website bans considering they have a history of blocking popular web destinations (like Yahoo! Groups in 2003), and some public officials have reportedly stated terrorists have used blogs to communicate.

Here what the blogs are saying:

“I noticed today that not only Blogspot blogs are not loading, but I can’t call up any Typepad blogs either. I called [my Internet Service Provider] again and they told me…that Blogspot has been blocked by the Ministry of Communication centrally. I asked them for more details, or any sort of confirmation of the same, which they were unable to provide.” — dina mehta, desipundit.com

“Now I know I am speculating but it makes me very very irritated to think that our government might be playing some hanky panky with blog sites? The other possibility is that Blogger messed it up only in India? I would love it if it is the second possibility but I think there is a very slim chance of that. I can only hope that there is an innocent explanation to it.” — Mridula, withinandwithout.com

“If this all is true, then Congress government is making serious damages to its already damaged reputation. I think all of us in blogosphere should post about this, so that everybody in the world reading any Indian blog will come to know about this.” — Akilan, nanopolitan.blogspot.com

“You know what really scares me? Some bureaucrat learnt that terror groups are using blogs to communicate. Instead of deciding to read those blogs to find out what they are up to, he decides to ban them. I am shit-scared that my country’s security is in that guy’s hands.” — Ravi Kiran, ram.typepad.com

Talk: What do you think about a potentially government-sanctioned ban on blog sites? COMMENT

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