GitHub, a popular software development platform that hosts open-source projects is said to be blocked for some users in India. A domain used by the service to serve files and content from repositories to users all over the world, has seemingly been blocked in India. The block appears to be active for some users on ACT Fibernet broadband, while some Jio Fiber users are also facing issues with the URL as well. The block was spotted by users on Sunday, who tweeted about the website being inaccessible on the ACT Fibernet service. As a result of the blocked domain, affected users may have limited access to files used in open-source projects hosted on the platform for developers and GitHub users.
Twitter user Arnav Gupta (Twitter: @championswimmer) first spotted the issue. In his tweet on Sunday, he enquired if http://raw.githubusercontent.com was blocked on ACT internet in Bangalore. Responses to his tweet indicate that the domain has been blocked on certain ISPs in the country.
Gadgets 360 was able to confirm that the URL was not accessible on ACT broadband internet and Jio Fiber. Visiting the URL via a web browser displays the message, “This URL has been blocked under the instructions in compliance with the orders of a Hon'ble Court.” The domain appears to be working normally for Airtel users.Later on, security researcher Karan Saini (Twitter: @squeal) tweeted out more details about the block. “The ‘raw[.]githubusercontent[.]com' host, which serves files for every single @github repository to users all over the world, has been blocked in India for users of @ACTFibernet , likely at the Govt.'s behest,” Saini tweeted. He added that blocking the URL would reduce the functionality of the platform.
It is worth noting that GitHub is home to numerous, valuable open-source projects. Blocking the raw.githubusercontent.com domain, which is used to serve files stored in GitHub repositories, would restrict access to notable projects including React Native, Linux, and Google's TensorFlow.
Meanwhile, Gupta also pointed out that previews of Visual Studio Code extensions, Readme files on the GitHub website have also been affected, as well as the functionality of tools like Obsidian and Homebrew which is used to simplify software installation on macOS and Linux. Gadgets 360 was able to confirm that "readme" files, used to display descriptions of projects such as the Linux kernel, were also inaccessible on the affected ISPs.
While the URL is not accessible via browsers on the affected ISPs, using the Command Prompt to send a Client URL (Curl) request also returns the same error, informing the user that the host has been blocked in compliance with a court order.The blocking of Github's domain used to serve content to users is also surprising, as one of the objectives of the National Policy on Information Technology, 2012 is "To adopt Open standards and promote open source and open technologies". Restricting access to the platform could hamper the adoption and development of open source technology in the country.
Gadgets 360 has reached out to ACT Fibernet, Jio Fiber, GitHub for comment. The story will be updated with their response. We have also requested the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for a statement on the blocking of the domain in the country.
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