Government Says Court Ordered Blocking of 32 Websites; Vimeo Amongst Those Now Unblocked

Government Says Court Ordered Blocking of 32 Websites; Vimeo Amongst Those Now Unblocked

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has confirmed that several websites were indeed being blocked in India on the request of the Anti Terrorism Squad in Mumbai, and a release from the Ministry added that four websites were now being unblocked after "compliance with the laws of the land."

The websites that have been unblocked now are Weebly, Vimeo, DailyMotion and GitHub - however, the government also confirmed that a total of 32 websites were blocked, including the Internet Archive, Pastebin and even a specific project on SourceForge.

The news release from the government states that the Additional Director General of Police, Anti Terrorism Squad, Mumbai requested blocking of 32 websites on November 15; however it also states that the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate also issued the order on 10.11.2014 for blocking of these 32 websites on urgent basis.

(Also see: Websites Blocked: 5 Worrying Points The Latest Round of GOI Blocks Raise)

"We have blocked some websites, as there were serious national security concerns," a government official.

Legitimate users of sites like GitHub, Pastebin and SourceForge however are complaining that the blocking of sites that are heavily used by programmers and Internet startups because of a few objectionable posts is like burning down a haystack to find a needle.

Other websites that faced the crackdown include popular video sharing platforms like DailyMotion and Vimeo. The websites were purportedly containing material about Areeb Majid, an alleged ISIS member who was arrested by NIA, and three others hailing from North Karnataka's Bhatkal area. But these websites have now been unblocked, indicating the offensive material would've been taken down by the respective websites.

Sources told PTI that the websites were being used to induce Indian youth to join ISIS and for spreading news about purported death of certain persons while fighting Allied Forces in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

While four of the websites have been unblocked, others remain inaccessible as of filing the report.

Written with agency inputs


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