Lessons Learnt From the Ban on Blogger

154 Comments

A few things I did not know before Government Of India ‘s blanket-ban on Blogger/Typepad. — a ban whose supposed purpose we learn is to keep SIMI terrorists from passing love-notes between themselves.

1. SIMI-ians exclusively use Blogger and Typepad to communicate. Which is why these are the only blogging platforms that are blocked. SIMI stays clear of WordPress (too dynamic for static fundamentalists), Rediff blogs (because they don’t like the template), O3 Indiatimes (because even they disapprove of a paper that sells editorial space), and Yahoo 360 (yes even SIMI activists have some sense). And like everyone else, they have never heard of MSN Spaces.

2. SIMI activists may handle RDX and gelatin with dexterity but have trouble understanding the concept of proxies by which website-blocking can easily be circumvented. As a result, a ban on blogger totally brings them down to their knees—especially when they don’t get their daily fix of desihotties.blogspot.com

3. SIMI terrorists do not know the use of bulletin boards —the gazillions of them that are on the Net. Hence cutting off blogger/typepad will reduce them to headless chickendom.

4. Enforcing a ban on Blogger/Typepad/Geocities will fool the SIMI people into thinking that India has officially become Pakistan (where access to many blogs are blocked) and now that their mission has been accomplished, they may let their guard down.

5. Lakshadweep and Andaman Nicobar Islands are the only places where there are no SIMI activists. (According to the wise sages in power, these places are excluded from the ban)

6. If “somebody” in the government blocks some sites and prevents Indians from accessing information and expressing their own thoughts, how is it anyone’s problem? (read the “official response” to this ban here) After all the government know best and is accountable to no-one—-certainly not to its own citizens.

7.[Update] Immunodiagnostics and hormone analysis are instruments of terror. Why? Because “Diagnostics System Lab” —a medical lab that does precisely that (URL http://www.bloodspot.com) finds itself on the list of hate sites that GOI has deemed we are not supposed to read. Maybe, some backroom boy yelled blogspot and someone else heard bloodspot—-but that’s just a conjecture…I am sure the authorities have checked and rechecked the websites they wanted to ban and such a mistake is beyond the realms of possibility.

8.[Update] The government is engaged in a war with “common sense”. No I do not say that figuratively. According to Shivam, one of the blogspot blogs that reportedly made it onto the government’s list is http://commonense.blogspot.com. The said blog, whose title is the somewhat apt “Common Sense for Dummies” has only one post, dated May 20, 2004 that says:

Why commonense?
“Common-sense” and “common sense”, the common-sense alternatives for a common-sense blog, are already taken.

Deeply subversive—-after all, as we all know, common sense can bring the government down.

Advertisements

154 thoughts on “Lessons Learnt From the Ban on Blogger

  1. Totally agree with you. One more for the “If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny” awards. Loved that ToI dig 🙂

  2. All this is a ploy to boost tourism in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. All citizens in need of blog space must now travel to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  3. Pingback: techborg » Technology » Blogspot Blocked In India?

  4. Hilarious! I’m sure the Terror-Firma is in splits over this move.
    “Dude – can’t hear u at all, the site’s blocked – buw ahahahaha”
    “Haanji Musharraf Saab, koi baat nahin, aap paper pe likh lo abhi, main baad mein upload kar doonga” (Tech support to the Gen)

    CPI-Metc – celebration time, we’re almost China. Now just need a few tanks rolling into Connaught Place (does the name con, naught describe the soul of the city? Flames…..!) and blitzing some student types.

  5. Arnab,
    Have you seen the latest article on rediff about Prabhuji Jr.’s foray into films – would love to hear your take on the Second Comin of Prabhuji!

  6. As pathetic as this is, I want to look at the bright side. At least we’re gonna be spared from memes about sunsigns and favorite ice cream flavors.

  7. Nicely done. Particularly amusing, and galling at the same time, is the “official” response (“What is your problem?”, “…what are they missing from their lives in the absence of these sites” et al!) These guys really talk out of the wrong orifices in their bodies!

  8. SIMI-ians…. LOL. Let’s see what the Right to Information Act throws up. Though, I seriously doubt this is a permanent thing. Am sure it’s just another one of those silly things that will eventually ebb away.

  9. Funny! But we all know the real intent; and that isn’t droll at all… Will this end? I hope soon; but this has revealed yet another example of the style of logic put forward by those-who-are-in-high-places for their “we have to do something… anything” actions..

  10. Pingback: The Acorn » Dolts with sledgehammers

  11. oh! sorry for crowding the comments, but it just struck me — I think they found a blog “where terrorists from around the world write in” with the help of certain expert called Ms. Saha… 🙂

  12. Pingback: DesiPundit » Archives » Blogspot.com Blocked In India By Some ISPs

  13. Super post. My goodness how stupid can these people be. Have the Dots and CERT Ins ever seen a computer? How stupid. And then this guy says, “whats ur problem?” They shud just go home. How stupid.

  14. I was just going to tell you about this news but saw you already had posted it 🙂 Anyway, it seems there is a ban on geocities hosted sites too?

  15. YOURFAN writes:
    @GB: We are blessed that “Wordpress is too dynamic for static fundamentalists” – otherwise we would have been deprived of reading your posts. The govt which can’t even ensure the safety of its citizens would make our life even more miserable by taking away our source of sustenance of laughter. Excellent humor as usual. What else can we do other than laugh!

  16. yeh greatbong.net bhi bahut provocative site hai. this smart-ass who calls himself the greatbong tried to outwit us by shifting from blogger. iss saale ka IP bhi khallas kar do!!

  17. bongda,

    a friend of mine told me how innovative these so called terrorist cells can get.

    What they do is

    1) Create a webmail account like Yahoo or Gmail
    2) Share the username and password all accross
    3) Compose a mail, but do not send it. Instead it gets saved in the “drafts” folder
    4) No mails get sent, so they cant be monitored
    5) Other terrorist locations just open the mail and view the drafts folder.

    Nice… really nice

    I wonder how the stupid Indian government can clamp down on this. What is the point in blocking blogs?

    Vivek

    BTW: Debonairblog.com still works 🙂

  18. Great. So our secular freedom and liberty loving government has banned blogger.com.
    Where are those secular congress supporters whom you find lurking in the comments sections on most blogs.

    For all that secular and freedom crap about Leftism, its the Leftists who are the most likely to use force to clamp down on the opposing point of view. How many Leftist regimes in the world were truly democratic. (Dont count Bengal, its the CPM goons who have ensured victory for over 20 years).

  19. Hi

    My worst fears are now confirmed though i was expecting this

    I was just wondering ,given the natural Congress /Leftist instincts to silence/stifle voices of dissent,why security dispensation headed by the nincompoop ,incompetent and third rate Nehru-Gandhi sycophant called M.K Narayanan was not clamping down on the blogs.And it just happened

    With blogging community increasingly playing a pivotal role in shaping the though process of India’Gen Next and bloggers esposuing a truly secular,Indian-Interest first ideology and exposing the fault lines of this ineffectual government (this government clearly now needs to be consigned to the dustbins) this was bound to occur.Also the establishment would not have tolereated the overwhelming anti-left,anti-congress sentiment prevailing in the India Blogdom

    I am sure this is a calculated and cynical leftist /congress assualt on blog which have emerged as the nerve-centre of new Indian intellucallism .

    Third rate b…rds ‘s

  20. Pingback: staying.cool / encephalous leadership

  21. GB,

    🙂 maybe wordpress is too static for them !! Thank god for small mercies!!

    So much for constitutional rights– we are making another amendment soon in the name to national security threat perceived by these morons in the government!!

  22. I canot believe we are being ruled by such dumb people. I only hope that the blogging community raises enough noise for the government to reverse such medieval steps. As always, greatbong, you are spot on.

  23. Pingback: Just a little something » What’s happening with blogspot?

  24. GB, methinks it is a very clever move to exclude Lakshadweep and A&N. That way, the babus can say – hey, look, it’s NOT a blanket ban, we have carefully assessed security threat in each region and made this decision. It’s just a coincidence that there are apparently no computers on those islands except some VAX machines in the Naval bases.

  25. Well, here are some of the sites also blocked according to IBNLive.com. Dalitstan.org, Clickatell.com, Hinduunity.com, Princesskimberly.blogspot.com and Hinduhumanrights.org. These are supposedly the sites spreading terrorism the world over. Naturally, they had to be shut down. I think the fucking morons in DoT and its jerk off minister need to set a filter on the net for the word ‘Hindu’ ;-).

    Here’s the IBN link.

    http://www.ibnlive.com/news/censored-govt-signs-out-bloggers/15886-3.html

    Here’s the link of the doggies at CERT.in. These are the jackasses who approved the banning:

    http://www.cert-in.org.in/contact.htm.

    Mail the morons and tell them what you think of them. I’ve already done so. Tell them especially what you think of the dumbass called Gulshan Rai.

    Here are our maalik log. Bow to them at http://www.dot.gov.in/ Pledge your loyalty and absolute belief in their ability and need to decide what you see and read. Make up a special poem for Dayanadhi Maran, the all time great telecommunications minister and post it to them. Make sure you request for a framed photo of his, preferably autographed, so that you can hang it on the wall of your living room.

    Welcome to the Soviet Republic of India.

  26. Pingback: van Kalip Times » Blog Archive » Stupid decisions

  27. Excellent post Greatbong. Pleasure reading you. When and if you are blocked -I will mourn you!

    YSF has realized that their blog is useless now. So they’re sending out emails with their plans for protests during the monsoon assembly. I wonder wgy the GOI thinks that their ‘feared’ terrorists won’t do that. Bull shit again and agian and again.

  28. I get a sneaky feeling that the GOI mandarins play a sort of a game where they open a dictionary, randomly point a finger at a word and decide to ban it.

    The game part of it is the mandarin’s department has to find a way to justify the ban.

    Best/ worst justification gets a year’s bonus.

    Can you think of any other rationale?

  29. @A: Thank you..

    @Tipu: Can’t resist the temptation of a TOI barb.

    @Suyog: And the poor islands are under a Tsunami watch right now.

    @Sameer: I bet.

    @Mental Baba: Please do. It won’t be long before cleavage and webcam dancing is considered a threat to the republic.

    @Som: Yes my friend I have.

    @Footballnath: Joy Ma Footballeswari to that.

    @Purush: Really !

    @Aravind: If we don’t understand it, ban it.

    @Sandipan: I hope so.

    @Sach1tb: Do you want to get me banned?

    @Sriram: I have posted about my opinion of “regulatory bodies” (watch what the Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India does once it is constituted) that exist to restrict what we can see/hear/read.

    @Dhananjay: I am sure they can.

    @Deep3rdMan: There are some anti-India geocities sites and I think that’s why it made it to the black list.

    @Yourfan: Yes true. What can we do except laugh helplessly?

    @Anon Coward: That’s what I am afraid of…one day talk about Prabhuji and Mimoji may be considered a threat to the nation.

    @Vivek: The day debonairblog is blocked….people will come out into the streets.

    @Shadows: Pakistan isnt leftist…is it? This is not a leftist-rightist-typist thing but more a mark of totalitarianism.

    @Prasanna: Blogs are still too insignificant in terms of readership…..at least as of now to bother the ones in power. So I still dont think they are coming after bloggers per se. However this unilateral, non-transparent ban is a mark of a non-democratic mindset where the govt feels that it has the right to prevent law abiding citizens from getting information from their chosen sources.

    @Hosur: Hmm.

    @An Ideal Boy: Not too many care do they?

    @Malini: Yes thankfully…

    @NvK: They are….everyone is united on this. Almost everyone that is.

    @Aftab: 🙂

    @Vikram: http://censorship.wikia.com/wiki/Bypassing_The_Ban

    @Nanda Kishore: What? The Jarawa don’t read blogs? I am shocked.

    @RR Patil: Very interesting list.

    @Clairvoyant: http://censorship.wikia.com/wiki/Bypassing_The_Ban

    @Rahul: Unless it doesnt go away in a few days, a PIL is the only way out.

    @//slash\: It would. Only GOI doesnt seem to know exactly what the blogspot sites are —they only know that the SIMI may be using them. So block all of em….

    @Barnita: The day might not be far off. However http://censorship.wikia.com/wiki/Bypassing_The_Ban may help you. Noone can make you mourn unles you want to…freedom of expression forever.

    @Sayon: Indeed I can’t.

  30. I am not much of a uber political analyst and neither do I keep myself updated with the happenings in the secret 36 chambers of the Gandhi dynasty.

    But there is something to be noted since the Congress has come to power this time. This party clearly works on autocratic lines where the word from the dynasty is the be all and end all. The heirs are shamelessly worshipped by the party workers. Also the cabinet has an impressive collection of ministers who are always throwing their weight around. This attitude has found its way into the top bureaucratic circles too. Not that it wasn’t present earlier. But the responses on the lines of “Frankly, my dear, I give a damn” suggest that the mandarins have become more desperate than ever before.

  31. Stupidest move by the government. Cant believe we have a PM who is an economist and we have a president who is scientist. Glad that I am in US, unless Dubya decides to ban GreatBong.

  32. YOURFAN writes:
    @GB:In your second update you wrote: “Deeply subversive—-after all, as we all know, common sense can bring the government down.”. Your comments/posts are absolutely fantastic. You are THE master at these. I still can’t believe what is happening in our country. Within a week first the Mumbai blast and then the blogbust!

  33. hi sayon,
    this is your didi (ie, if you are boots)

    (if YOU are NOT boots plz ignore this comment)

    *GREATBONG SAYS: I get the joke but since there are so many people who arent….why even bother….so yes it has led to censorship by me only because I want to avoid trouble)

  34. @Anomit: Well transparency has never been a government virtue—Congress or not.

    @Sanjay: Yes of course unless.

    @Voice Within: It is moving to that…I was thinking the same thing a few hours ago.

    @Swati: Do you want to get me banned or what? Really these are troubled times and I am editing out that part simply because I dont want the common sense deficient and humorboneless mandarins blocking this blog.

    Kneejerk reaction? Perhaps.

  35. Good Post GreatBong..
    I think our government has got its priorities wrong as usual. I don’t know if they are doing things like monitoring phone calls from/to Pakistan, B’desh and UAE etc. Also they should be using software to track financial dealing of suspected parties. US is openly doing these and they have been successful in blocking a few hundred transaction apparently. We have the capability to monitor and block financial transactions. The software company I work for infact developed such a software for one of the top US financial institutions.

    Banning blogs seems to be worst idea anyway!!

  36. crosspost:
    The Futility of Internet Censorship

    Yesterday, I was unable to access my internet accounts, and also some online fora where I used to waste my time trolling, and said, “Thank God! I can keep my implicit, though unmade, promise to nobody in particular and actually get some work done.”

    Then someone showed me how to circumvent the problem. I did actually log on to some of these sites, and delete my accounts there for good, to save some more time for myself, and then I came to know that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was blocking some sites under
    directives from the government.

    If it is possible for a non-expert like me to circumvent the DoT blockage of a few websites, it should be possible for many others. What one fool can do, so can another.

    I am an irregular in the blogosphere, irregular writer, irregular reader. I do not know what opinions on which controversial blog the government seeks to suppress. An idea cannot be killed easily. You
    need either solid, logical counterargument, or the baffling appeal to the emotion that by some greater logic overwhelms the reasoning of the reader. Either way, you have to be inventive.

    But seeking to simply suppress an opinion is not much different from telling a teenager not to read pornography. That makes people only more curious, and it seems to me such an endeavour is self-defeating in the long run.

    And the stupidest thing is for this decision a lot of people who were neither pro-government nor anti-government and may have just been creating literature or writing about their profession or whatever harmless stuff in their blogs – they also have to suffer for apparently no reason given.

    [crossposted from the relatively harmless, and irregular The Shadows of My Mind in case the government chooses to prevent me from making fun of myself on my own blog for public entertainment.]

  37. “Diagnostics System Lab” —a medical lab that does precisely that

    But they have been acquired by Beckman Coulter. Coulter as in Ann Coulter. Do you see the vast right-wing conspiracy now?

  38. Pingback: Recurring Decimals….. » Our response

  39. What nonsense. The government has NOT banned the blog sites. Its a technical glitch. *Read* news. When seemingly educated ppl become sensation-mongers, then India limps harder.

    http://www.ibnlive.com/news/censored-govt-signs-out-bloggers/15886-3.html

    READ. dont be so irresponsible so as to discredit your government so easily, and be buffoons on such important issues.

    How does one blame the media for being irresponsible when ppl who dont even depend on things selling, write such bs!!

    As for some of the sites that have been banned, one can clearly see why. All govts all over have such bans. Enough lives lost already, we dont want anything inciting any violence in which only the common man on the street suffers.

    sigh.

  40. Some more light on this ban (http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20060718&fname=blogs&sid=1).

    It seems there was just one blog, on blogspot, that they wanted to ban and since the babus at the Ministry of Telecom are as IT-literate as Laloo Prasad is literate on birth control methods, they sent out an order without telling ISPs how they could go about blocking just one blog on the entire website. I think this is an inflection point here – the beginning of the end of IT-related boom for India. If the frickin’ IT ministry at the Centre can’t understand something this basic, then we are doomed.

  41. Super article!

    But I am at loss whether to laugh it off or cry for it!!!
    We are being ruled by these morons!!!!

    And to think that we are supposed to be battling terrorism with these “wonderful-ideas”!

    GOD! Please save our country…

    I am sure the “actual” terrorists are laughing it out looking at such a pathetic situation of ours!
    I am sure living in some god forsaken land (assuming that’s where they are) they are more technology savy than some of our ministers sitting in a posh bunglaw in a metropilitan city !!!!

  42. @Sandesh: Here’s a better idea. Monitor the phones of the SP people and let’s see what comes out of the woodwork.

    @PP: You need to be protected from yourself, no doubt 🙂

    @Dipanjan: Aah the penny drops.

    @Soubhagya: Indeed a soubhagya (good fortune) to have you here.

    Lets say a terrorist hides in area X, a suburb of Mumbai. The government unleashes a nuke on Mumbai and blows everyone including X to kingdom come and then say it was a technical glitch—-we couldnt have killed the dreaded terrorist without killing everyone else in Mumbai.

    Sigh.

    But thanks for commenting. Its sometimes good to discover the people whom the government represents—sometimes you do wonder the fact.

    @Anon: And you know why? Cause they are not accountable.

    @Shark: Yes I am sure they are having a hearty laugh….no doubt.

    @Yourfan: Your comment again got caught in the moderation queue and so I couldnt get it to it in the last set of answers. Yes wonder whats happening….

  43. This govt sucks majorly….they call it to democratic……Well, I guess the new meaning of democracy is censoring freedom of speech…..any ideas, when the block will be taken off?

  44. ! You obviously didnt/cant READ! go ahead, give it another chance. or let me just state it here..

    The technical glitch is with the ISPs. NOT the govt. The ISPs there couldnt do better than blocking *.bloggers while wanting to block x.bloggers. goodness gracious. whats with you ppl?!!

    I believe in rationality. Just because I can type & I have a blog, I cant pretend to be braindead, nor can I tolerate braindead-ness on issues that are of significance. While I wage my own wars against the govt, its senseless to draw guns at everything, regardless!! Particularly so, when its a perfectly sensible thing that the govt has done!! *use your brains*! You are not carrying it around for nothing.

    Yes! its an elected govt in india and it sure does represent me as most others here.

    There are ppl who probably will not look deeper, they come across such a post and join the mass bashing of the govt, which is all so easy to do. and that is sad. PLEASE dont write baseless, untrue crap purely for sensationalism sakes! You ARE causing serious damage. Go full strength on *real* issues – and ah – theres plenty of that! In testing times like this, that would be the least that you can do for your country. Its NOT for the govt.

    ah well. common sense is an oxymoron after all.

  45. @Diana: Look at comment below.

    @Soubhagya:

    The reason it was off was because it was under editing.

    Now from the IBN article you linked:

    However, ISPs say that they are not at fault for though a lot of the blocked sites are not on the list issued to them, there is a technical glitch as it’s not possible to block certain pages, without blocking the entire site.

    If this above is true (and I do not know if it is), then it is the government’s fault as it has issued a directive that , in effect, forces ISPs to block ALL blogger blogs(again based on the article you quoted). This brings me back to nuking Mumbai—if the only technical solution in killing a terrorist is nuking the entire city, it makes no sense to say do that. As to this example, it is even more laughable as the ban can so easily be circumvented.

    As to the list you have I can see BSNL there…which I think is government-controlled. I never said all ISPs are government controlled. But the fact that at least ONE govt ISP is also imposing the blanket ban just goes to show that the govt is very much part of it (and this is NOT an issue of technical incompetence of private ISPs as you say). Well if the government is so innocent at least in front of its apologists, why doesnt the govt/BSNL implement selective filters? (I would presume that is possible (at least for Geocities) but again IBN article says it is not possible to selectively block blogspot pages).

    The way a sensitive government would have gone about this would be to put the technical infrastructure in place so that everyone else does not get affected and THEN block the 12 sites.

    By not doing so, it has imposed censorship (a very silly and easily circumvented-by-the-mischievous-ones let me say) and that’s what brain-in-pocket people (according to you) at respected outlets  (sorry CRAP outlets) like the New York Times and Boingboing.net are devoting their time writing about.

     

  46. @Soubhagya:

    From the pages of New York Times:

    For reasons yet unexplained by the authorities, the Indian government has apparently directed local Internet service providers to block access to a handful of outlets that host blogs, including the popular blogspot.com.

    …………..

    Last Thursday, a technician at a Bangalore-based service center of one Internet provider said the government had ordered the block of blogspot.com “due to security reasons.” Another service provider in New Delhi said the government, without explanation, had directed his company to block access to a list of less than a dozen Web sites. He could offer no details about the sites.

    Officials at the Ministry of Communications here did not return repeated calls. An official at the ministry’s department of information and technology, Gulshan Rai, said he was aware of “two pages” that had been blocked for spreading what he called “antinational sentiments,” but was unable to provide details.

    The secretary for telecommunications, D. S. Mathur, that bureau’s highest-ranking civil servant, hung up the phone when reached at home.The minister of communications, Dayanidhi Maran, was traveling in San Francisco and unavailable for comment.

    Transparent government eh guv’nor? Just to show that there are quite a few versions of the truth.

  47. Pingback: No Internet Censorship » Blog Archive » Gita

  48. Thats convoluted thinking at best! Just because ISPs cant find a technical way to -make it difficult- to reach some sites, and not all, does not mean the govt do nothing..

    By your token, why even ban any outfit at all? What is banning anyway? its that the outfit cannot have bank accounts in the orgs name. They cant have a public gathering and so on.

    Cant these have workarounds? Propaganda can travel over several media! Banks arent the only places to store money! Alas, i think you would then say all the govts all over have been fools…

    The point is that banning *direct* access to the objected websites, the govt is preventing the outreach it otherwise had. and. that makes sense.

    and as it would rightly seem, this isnt the most baffling technical problem mankind has faced, ISPs must be putting their act together and should restore the general sites access soon.

    Yes, that who owns BSNL was outside periphery of what i had meant. It was only to cite that completely private ISPs had also ended up blocking *.bloggers inadvertently.

    Really, our govt is NOT a bunch of manic idiots. There are some rotten apples and that applies to the whole damn universe. They know better than trying to block access to all blogs! 0 IQ ppl would know that too.

  49. @Soubhagya: Inadvertently? No. It is a technical concomitant of the government’s weird decision. As I said the decision could have been implemenented AFTER the technical infrastructure could have been put in place.

    Remember that all the websites banned are Hindu right wing websites (except Dalistan which has been offline for a long time)…SIMI I think wont be using them to plan another attack (which is what the government said was the reason for the blocking)—-so where was the need for this rush?

    Now of course Hindu rightos may be using the websites to coordinate attacks among themselves…but the government only mentioned SIMI..and so I and NYT and BB and hundreds of other bloggers have to go by that.

    0 IQ people? Yes I understand perfectly.

  50. Blocking few sites under blogspot probably isn’t that easy. I wonder if the ISPs discussed this problem, or maybe they did follow it up, and were instructed to put a blanket ban instead. So the threat imposed by these weblogs was so huge that it merited a knee-jerk reaction of the most irrational kind… !!

  51. Hilarious !
    They need not give justification for anything bcos the very fact that we have voted them to power is justification enough.Besides its good distraction from actually taking concrete action against terrorism .And being disjointed in perception and as slimy as u get them defines politicians.

  52. No one is claiming that India is the quintessential transparent govt. which govt is truly transparent anyways??

    Yes, getting officials to talk to media on issues like this is difficult. Yes, the govt is more often a PR disaster than otherwise. Yes, there are elaborate rules that restrain the common gov officer from speaking to the media. Yes, not all in the government are “top-brains”, hell, some we know are pure dumb. Yes, theres lot of filth in the govt – &- the universe.

    But, none of this is to say that the government is imposing censorship on the internet media.

    Its just trying to make it harder for the anti-socials to reach the masses.

    And just because some officer in the ministry isnt the best speaker, I will not quit using my brain. I will not spin up a conspiracy theory out of that.

    It is the worst kind of ‘civic carelessness’ to hold the govt guilty of a much more heinous crime (cited censorship) – simply because – thus far, its not responded in the most eloquent manner.

    At all points the officials have cited (in their limited public speaking abilities) that a particular list of sites has been banned & the reason cited as well. then WHY, WHY have you beaten drums that the gov is imposing lot broader censorship ????? Its an issue that ppl have to take up with their ISPs.

    An analogy for you to understand. Say the gov bans PTV (i dont know if it has), and for some *technical* reason the cable network cannot telecast any channel from that region. Whose problem is it???? The govt???!!!! Oh, but did you say that in such case the gov shouldnt be banning PTV in the first place…ahh…now thats keeping the grey cells in reserve for god-knows-what.

  53. @Sach1tv: Easy? Who cares for easy, you 0 IQ person creating sensation and throwing muck at OUR government? 😉

    @Varsha: 🙂

    @Soubhagya: In case the government in banning PTV is forced to ban all other channels because of technological problems the govt itself cannot solve (as opposed to there is an easy solution but the ISPs are not putting it in place) and if people can get a PTV receiver free-of-cost from the local pan wallah in any case, then yes it makes no sense to ban PTV. I would think it wouldnt need a lot of grey cells to understand that.

  54. >Yes, not all in the government are “top-brains”, hell, some we know are pure dumb.

    >Yes, theres lot of filth in the govt – &- the universe.

    Absolutely…we are “lucky” to see one right here in the comments section who fits the description.

  55. you are looking away from the facts. the govt has not imposed the blanket ban. It is what the ISPs have ended up doing!!! now pls tell me, you -can- see the difference, cant you?

    and i had to laugh at ur proposal of what a “sensitive” govt would do. it will be killing animal rights to call that bs.

    It is NOT the govt’s problem. Its a *customer-service* problem, that the ISPs have to fix. It is not like the govt has stopped ppl from breathing oxygen, just bcos the terrorists use that too.

    If the govt was really a culprit of what is suggested here, they wouldnt be “censoring” blog sites!!!! They know better from the chinese govt. Has any other form of public-news media come under any censorship whatsoever ?????? Why blogs?!! There are more teens on them than anything-like-terrorists!

    its only the sensation-mongers, who dance to anything & everything who can think of such.

  56. so the government is the client and cable network is the service provider. And therefore, until they find a solution to the technical glitch, all channels from that region, by the cable network’s prerogative (that’s what you seem to suggest) stay out. Back to our story: the ISPs took their own decision in blocking everything — sounds very unconvincing !!
    And “since every government is bad, and our’s is no good, and so why protest at all” is no reason for not to raise objections at any senseless actions. If we stop questioning, the technical glitch might just become the solution our government is looking for.

  57. @Rohan:

    no offence pal. But i dont work for the gov. So you are conclusion is baseless.

    @everyone else:
    Think what you must ppl. This particular issue, I am sure will be clarified & settled to our satisfaction, soon.

    It is then, perhaps, that you will realize that it is downright crazy to go bonkers with such baseless conspiracy theories. Hopefully also that it does not serve the good-cause for the country we all care about.

  58. @Soubhagya: So I made you laugh? Quite an achievement: no?

    I do understand the difference but in order to reply to you I would have to say the same thing over and over again….and since I have already been made my point several times, I dont think I need to repeat it again.

    I stand by what I said and I am sure NYT and others will too.

    Incidentally, why dont you repeat your excellently articulated point to other bloggers and also in the feedback section of the NYT so that many many more people can understand what you are saying? I know you are a busy person and so may be hard pressed to take the time off for doing that…so I am helping by not drawing this arguement further so that you can go onto the more popular blogs.

    And thanks for calling me a teenager…long time anyone did that.

    Okay I know you didnt exactly say that but I am trying to make you laugh. Once again.

    @Rohan: You dont say.

  59. @sach1tb:

    fwiw, the gov was not the client in tht example. It is the ppl. Presumably, ppl want to see other channels/read other sites, so the cable providers/ISPs restore access to channels/sites.

    Its not the cable network/ISPs prerogative. its what they will need to do to keep their customers.

    By all means, keep questioning the govt. for all matters across the entire spectrum of sanity. That is all good. All i am saying, is that dont hang them, just because of their PR skills.

    The govt *has* denied intending to block all blog sites. Take that and rest your conspiracy theories. Go after the ISPs. If issue remains unresolved, get after the govt to clarify stand and get after the ISPs. Thats the way it should be, dont you agree?

  60. You said: >Yes, theres lot of filth in the govt – &- the universe.

    I was referring to the “universe” part. No I did not think that you worked for the government though I could be forgiven if I did.

  61. Forgot to add…the “you” meant Mr. Dash. Need to clarify that as there are some 0 IQ people around here today.

  62. soubhagya– hmm… ok let’s repeat: government tells ISP to block sites, ISP finds out it can’t do that exactly, so goes ahead and blocks everything (calls it a glitch too!). Government had no role in this. Isn’t that what you want to imply?
    And so you put the blame on the ISPs, though now, your ppl=client analogy, makes that cable network provider (ISPs in this case) look like someone sandwitched between the people and the poor people-elected-government! So it’s the ISPs who are censoring us after all… do they know that or are they doing it unknowingly too..

  63. and yes, I do agree not to raise arms against every decision. but, well, this one hurts me a lot, and made my government look as bad as any other.. and so I will question it? even if it helps in bringing out some culprits, who want to act governmentish.. 😉

  64. Dash’s logic:

    A shopkeeper sells chocolates.

    Govt comes to his shop and says “Sugar is banned”.

    Customer comes.

    Shopkeeper says “Sir I cant sell chocolates to you. It contains sugar. Sugar is banned.”

    So who is responsible for the customer not getting chocolate?

    According to Mr. Dash it is the shopkeeper.

    Mr Dash says: “Why he should have removed the sugar from the chocolate and replaced it with a sugar-substitute. It’s his fault.”

    “But that cant be done so simply by a shopkeeper, “you say.” In order to get sugar free chocolate he needs to get alternative supplies and that should have been done first before sugar was summarily banned.”

    “You are a 0 IQ sensationalist” says Mr. Dash and walks out.

  65. if there are quite a few himesh fans ready to say “i luv HIMESH”, there is only a lone Dash standing up for the Govt. of India

    i have a feeling that very few top-class brains work for the govt. or the govt. is very very reluctant to seek help from non-govt competant/ brilliant people. and even if it does, those reccommendations gather dust in the Room of Unrequirements

    so, the solutions offered by the Sarkar are so weak and ineffectual

  66. YOURFAN writes:
    @Soubhagya Dash; You wrote to @sach1tb “By all means, keep questioning the govt. for all matters across the entire spectrum of sanity. That is all good. All i am saying, is that dont hang them, just because of their PR skills”.

    People have ‘questioned’ the ban – haven’t they? Who has ‘hanged’ whom? Nevertheless I think that the govt should also be ‘questioned’ even “just because of their PR skills” simply because that is a necessary component of any worth-the-salt govt.

    You also wrote :“Sure, I know better than to try further here”. What do you mean by that? Can’t you take differences of opinion or you expect everybody to fall in line with your views otherwise you talk like a pampered child as you say “I know better than to try further here.”

    Lastly what I detest is why do you have to use words like“0 IQ ppl” , “keeping the grey cells in reserve for god-knows-what.” just to make your points? Don’t you think that is rude? Let me also make it clear that if somebody at whom these words are used first; reacts with other words then that reaction would be perfectly justified in my view. Or do you think that usage of those words make your points stronger? I don’t think so.

  67. Is soubhagya dash a nut bag or what? READ. dont be so irresponsible so as to discredit your government so easily, and be buffoons on such important issues.

    How does one blame the media for being irresponsible when ppl who dont even depend on things selling, write such bs!!

    As for some of the sites that have been banned, one can clearly see why. All govts all over have such bans. Enough lives lost already, we dont want anything inciting any violence in which only the common man on the street suffers

    What the heck is wrong with you, defending the govt on implementing such an biased and ill-thought of measure. If you are such a coward that you believe people will go into a frenzy when they read those websites, you need to don a tin foil hat and admit yourself into a mental institution. Your fear over violence does not give you or the govt the right to ban me from writing my opinions.

    This heavy-handedness is not because the nincompoops at whatever ministry are concerned that the masses will get their hands on such material, it is being done due to political pressure. hinduunity.org, exposingtheleft.blogspot, hinduhumanrights.org, rahulyadav.com? Can you figure out a pattern here(I don’t expect you to but do try.) These sites have been blocked by specific complaints from within the UPA govt. Cert, DOT do not implement such bans on private requests. Go back to your cave.

  68. Assuming for a moment that terrorists do use certain blog sites for conspiratorial purposes, the all-knowing govt woke up to this fact AFTER the blasts??!!!

    smacks of utter desperation!

  69. This is really stupid. Our government has to keep reminding us that they are still in the stone age when it comes the space of cyber crime and monitoring.
    In an attempt to come of age they appointed a few so called “internet literate” guys on their payroll and they had to do something to show for their daily status. So a report goes to the largely illetrate cabinet seeking permission to block a few sites which will ensure terrorist are totally crippled and can’t use the net to communicate and hence will be rendered helpless.

  70. I was away to Bangalore for a day… and a LOT seems to have happened! I really don’t know what to say about this blanket ban, it reminds me of a cartoon that I saw a few months ago. I have posted it on my blog, check it out.
    [I couldn’t read through all the comments and can’t say if somebody else has posted the same before.]

  71. I’m totally at sea here. If the ISP is unable to block access to the few specified web sites, can they legally block the entire domain? Are they not restricting my freedom by not allowing me to access perfectly legal means of information? So consequently, can the the the ISP in any way be held accountable for repressing freedom of speech and opinion?

  72. If there are any people still reading this post, ET gives the list of sites that were ordered to be blocked by the government. Websites of the VHP seem to have been blocked.

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1773684.cms

    The sites blocked are http://www.hinduunity.org, mypetjawa.mu.nu, pajamaeditors.blogspot.com, exposingtheleft.blogspot.com, the pireteacove.us, commonfolcommonsense.blogspot.com, barrenpach- yderm.com, princeberley.blogspot.com, merrimusings.typepad.com, mackers-world.com, dardstan.org, hinduhumanrights.org/hindufocus.html, http://www.ondh.com, bloodnovel.tripod.com, imagessearch.yahoo.com, http://www.imamali8.com and rahulyadav.com.

    Check out the interesting sites. imagessearch.yahoo.com???? WTF? Also, some of the URLs are misspelled – possibly intentionally. But then, what more do you expect from the great Economic times? Note that anti Left sites are also here. What next? Banning of BJP sites?

  73. India joins the exalted club of Pakistan, Iran and China where blogspot.com is banned. Not sure of that democratic heaven, North Korea.

    The bunch of morons running the country think we are back to 1975. This ban amounts to subversion of the Constitution of India.

    Long live http://www.boreproxy.com

  74. Arnab, can count on you everytime. I knew this would be one site that’d have a post on the issue as I understand the word ‘post’ ASAP. And it did. Thank you.

    However, I can, suddenly access blogspot directly. From about ten minutes back. Since I can’t log into Gtalk, I thought I’d let it you know here.

    Thanks once again for a marvellous post. I particularly like the last line. Spot on!

  75. If the GOI is so worried about anti social elements spreading hatred thru blogs, they must visit the anti-india communities on places like orkut, hi5 etc etc.

  76. Hi Arnab,

    Great post.

    I think we are overreacting and the Government has actually sent out an encrypted message that none of us have been able to read. Yes “encrypted” using techniques better than the Feistel networks or the public-private key asymmetric algorithms.

    I think I just cracked it and here goes.

    “We have no idea what technology is. We do not understand it a tinny weeny bit. So please, please everyone hack our websites because we surely top the list of vulnerable sites. No technology = no patches = no security = we are sitting ducks.”

    with all the sarcasm
    -mohit
    jucse99

  77. God damn! This is possibly the most devisive (OBC reservation scam), ineffectual (zero response to tacle terrorism; infact negative response – POTA scrapped), and repressive (action on students, now banning totally unrelated blogs/sites) political regime. Shame on the people who vote for Congress/Commies. The BJP definitely was much better than this.

  78. exposingtheleft.blogspot.com

    Anti-national, very very anti-national……

    “…..that does not conform with the idealogy and policies of the Party”

    Rings any bells?

  79. You started a good topic Arnab, thanks for that.

    We all agree that the Politicians are crap. I remember this posted in santabanta forum regarding opting to vote out during elections (dont know how far this is true)…

    VETO POWER…..Section 49-O in the Indian Constitution

    Currently election time is going on in some states of India. So I thought why not write something about elections. About participation of the unwanted people and deliberate nonparticipation of good people who can make the difference.In almost every elections we see that a good contestant loose by a very close margin.We can change this scenario. I personally have never voted in my life. I am sure there are many more like me who are eligible, but haven’t voted or don’t want to vote. But lets share a sensational news……

    Do you know that there is a provision in our constitution, as per the1969 act, in section “49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth,confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!!!!!

    Yes, such a feature is available, and the presiding election officer is supposed to keep track of the number of people who refused to vote. After the polling is over he is supposed to submit this number to higher authorities involved in counting of votes. But obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called 49-O…

    Now the Question you’ll ask is why should you go and say ” I vote nobody”… Because, if a candidate wins, say by x votes, and that particular constituency has received 49-O votes more than x, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled.It doesn’t stop at that, the candidature of the contestant will be removed and he cannot contest the re-polling, sincepeople had already expressed their decision on him.

    This would bring fear into parties and hence they will look for genuine candidates to represent their parties for election. This would change the way, of our political system… if not entirely then atleast a start can be made. It is seemingly surprising why, election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public…. This thing also needs to be investigated.

    This seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in our country.Expressing your desire not to vote anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance.. to either vote, or vote not to vote.

  80. Arnabda

    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/8806.html

    Does this point to what i said yesterday -you didnt agree though.I might be overestimating the power of blogdom but you are certainly underestimating their power

    This is more to it than what meets the eyes Arnabda

    Who knows- there are certain pinko bloggers who might have “typed ” the list and handed over to the ‘secular’ government to help them unleash frontal assualt on the cyber-democracy.

    This is no Mccarthyism but i was always sensing that JNU-Jholawallahs -Bidwaitype leftist have cyberworld as one of their main target .

    They have a viscereal hatred for the cyberworld because more than any other medium this is the one which has truly democraticised ‘knowledge’ and made it accessible to middle class and all other sections(earlier the state- controlled ‘Knowledge’ was the fiefdom of more or less rich upper class who more often than not tend to be closet or overt communist.

    Some part of my long held view was validated when i read Friedman (who says rise of Internet was one of the contributing factors for collapse of communism).

    While the mainstream media is largerly infested with marxist hacks masquereading as journalist ,Indian Blogdom was definitely emerging as true anti-left space

    This too has been stiffled

    Take it from me-next target is Wikipedia.They might use the guise of cyber vandalism on any of the links on Nehru-Gandhi-Rahul-Sonia and block access to that too

    I am not mooting any conspiracy theories.This is standard leftist practiceP

    PS-Remember Bidwai calling Software Engineers as coolies . There has been whisper campaign going for regulating blogs

  81. @Swati: About the “I LUV HIMMESH” brigade oh man they are just too much. My favorite trolls….hands down.

    @Naradmuni: Living upto your name.

    @Sunshine: And the amazing thing ! They are all Hindu right wing sites !!!

    @Rohan: Block karna tha kar diya…buss…

    @Joy Forever: Yes a LOT has happened…

    @Vinod T: Well if this was in US they would be extricating law suits from their ass right now…

    @RR Patil: One word. Stoned.

    @Aby: Well its coming off in 48 hours as per Rediff

    @Rimi: :-)…thank you

    @Sujay: The anti-India communities in Orkut are extremely vile..

    @Mohit: Great to have you here. Absolutely agree…they just told the world how clueless they are about technology.

    @Vinay: Aah well.

    @Anomit: Very curious choice that.

    @Amit: Yes I heard about this too..

    @Arnab: Great.

    @Prasanna: All I can say is that the choice of the banned sites is very enlightening…it has little to do with SIMI communicating and more with the idealogical underpinnings of the government.

  82. Ah, per the link posted by arnab, seems like the *blanket ban* theory can now be put to rest?

    I would like to respond to some of the comments.

    @ RRPatil: Our media is less than perfect. I would give the govt the benefit of doubt when such absolutely ridiculous stuff comes up (imagesearch.yahoo..). Cos if I didnt, I would think its a crazy-as-hell govt there, I would get my folks out of there and forget the country.

    @ Vinod T: Yes, the ISPs would have been guilty of that, but as we see, it was a glitch after all.

    @ sunshine: it is a fad to lightly dismiss the govts moves/decisions. Regardless of the ruling party, whatever of a system that we have, does operate, which is why the countrys gotten to where its come! If you want to compare, I am sure you can find lot many countries which are -sadly- in lot worse states. to respond to your post, yes, i am sure its part wake-up-call, and part reaching a point (w/ conclusive evidence) where action *must* be taken. And also, its not only to prevent terrorists from reaching masses, its to prevent the spread of anti-social propaganda.

    Its well labored on, in the history textbooks, on how the britisher’s Divide And Rule concept hurt india, it should be a no-brainer to see that forces that want to do that all over again, should be suppressed.

    @ Joe: As above, I believe, its the govts responsibility to prevent anti-social propaganda & as-has-happened consequential violence. It cant totally eradicate it, it does what it can. As i read somewhere, some of these sites also have “hit-lists” … thats not fun. Such kind of media will not be entertained in the US-or-any-other-sane country for that matter.

    And as for the govt imposing……as we see now, thts not the case.

    As for exposingTheLeft….I dont know the details, but if that really is just a benign-anti-Left site, then thats sad collateral damage. I dont condone it, that *should* get questioned big time. thats what the parliament & media are for. Grill them, get them to clarify stand. But dont call them “third rate b***ds”. We have elected them after all. How much media in the US calls the govt such? despite such strong opposition to the iraq war??

    Its what a govt in a coalition has to do-but, i dont condone it like i said.

    @ anon: Questioning the ban & holding the govt guilty of trying to impose such censorship (DESPITE govt response to the contrary) are very different. As you can see from most of this blog/post, its not the former. Hence my point, which btw, is proven to be correct. My point was largely not just that the govt is not insane to impose a ban on blogs, it was that spreading whats not true (latter), is not correct. i am sure some ppl might not dig deeper and really just frame an opinion of what they read. that is sad.

    your point taken on my choice of words, however, but in my defense, its immensely agitating to see ppl jump to conclusions & also attempt to spread the word. Besides, I really didnt intend to call ppl here “0 IQ”.. regardless, your point taken.

    And sure, as i was yesterday, I was/am dealing with difference of opinion. It was only reacting to greatbong’s comment asking me to take myself elsewhere, that i said so. Like i have, I dont just walk away. If its still a discussion, hey i am all in!

    @ rohan-with-the-sugar-example: 🙂 what can i say to that…

    Anyways. thanks for the discussion gb.

  83. It just surprises me that some people want POTA back. If the govt can go about banning sites with only limited powers, imagine what POTA could do in their hands. Getting jailed under POTA even for a few hours for some misunderstanding over the opinion expressed in your blog is no fun!

  84. Does anyone here agree with me that bloggers are way too self-promoted-hoping -to-be-self-important people??? If a handful of sites do get blocked whats the big deal anyway??? It wasnt as if these sites were promoting/doing something worthwhile in the first place. Whats the whole hulaboo about it anyway??? every blogger worth his blogo-salt will now write in a piece on the blog-blockade thing, this would go on for the next month or so and then once the issue has shifted below the publics’ tiny horizon-of-view, its back to usual business. So whats the big deal?? Why clamour for all the attention anytime something miniscule-y interesting comes up in the indian blogosphere??

    My take is this.

  85. saubhagya — sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that all this was a mere technical glitch!! and if it was.. sigh!
    jhantu — “If a handful of sites do get blocked” — nice point there.. but unfortunately for you, blogspot.com and typepad.com, glitch or not, are some of the most popular platforms..
    “then once the issue has shifted below the publics’ tiny horizon-of-view, its back to usual business” and what, by your definition is *usual business*. let me answer that for bloggers — blogging 🙂

  86. @sach1tb: but really, why is that so hard to believe? why are we so disbelieving/conspiracy hunting? is our nation so deep down in shit? barring some really sad instances of central/some state govts bullying the media, doesnt our country have -relatively- more freedom than most other countries?

    for whatevers wrong with the media, i am more inclined to blame media itself. though in reality there may not be 1 culprit…no govt *itself* fosters truly free media, it must find its own strength. media has a supremely important role in any society, and if it keeps catering to what easily sells, it can never perform its duties.

    @jhantu: i agree with you..for the most part… the govt is doing its job in restricting access to some sites. in doing so, if theres temporal technical issues, so what? doesnt a curfew hurt regular life? isnt that lot more of a curtail than not having access to blog sites – & that outage btw, was also not total.

    it may not be sensible for the govt to share the nitty gritty of information that lead it to ban those n sites. It does not hurt to ask, though its sad to form an anti-gov opinion because of this. I am happier knowing that the govt is monitoring the internet space as well. its doing its job. peace.

  87. @Soubhagya:
    As for some of the sites that have been banned, one can clearly see why

    No, it is not clear to me. Could you explain why it is ok to ban the sites GOI admitted to banning?

    All govts all over have such bans
    Examples please where US Government has banned web sites like exposingtheleft.blogspot.com for expressing a political opinion they do not like.

  88. @Dipanjan: Sure. after the serial blasts in bombay (dec 92), there was widespread violence, because of hatred preached by *interested parties*. Most of the *real* culprits probably got away, common man on the street suffered.

    After the godhra incident, yet again, riots happened. Again some of the true culprits caught, some got away.

    After such provocative incidents (godhra, bomb blasts) – the perpetrators who commit these, their goal isnt realized yet, they want to see the country getting destabilized, they want to see riots happen. that is their real goal. & after such incidents, the situation is usually very sensitive, where some sloganeering can also trigger that 1 incident, which will then cause all hell to break loose. It is immensely difficult to control such fire once its started.

    so the govt tries all it can to prevent anybody from inciting violence…its along the same path that media took – by not showing any dead bodies…govt takes measures by not allowing huge congregations of ppl, banning public conferences on related issues etc etc, banning anything that can incite violence.

    The govt had reason to believe that the sites in qn, could potentially incite violence. Hence the ban. It may not choose to disclose all of the reasons that lead it to believe so. it may not be at the liberty to disclose such information. We should ask, the media/parliament should ask, but when the govt has given an answer it deems suitable, that should be it. It is very unlikely for it to be completely non-sensical. If ppl think it is, i believe ppl have recourses like going to the courts.

    As for exposingthe…. like i have mentioned in an earlier comment here, if it truly is a benign anti communism site, then the media/parliament should grill the govt and get a its stand clarified on it. Pls refer to the earlier comment on this.

    As for what other govts ban: oh theres plenty. off the top of my head i know theres been banning books in the US for sure…I dont distinguish between blogs/sites/books. pls google. I could dig some such out for you, but that will have to wait for later.

  89. @Soubhagya
    ” off the top of my head i know theres been banning books in the US for sure…”

    No there hasn’t! Many individual schools have banned books from their libraries, some large booksellers have refused to carry certain books, but I don’t think the U.S Government has ever banned a certain book from being sold in the U.S.

  90. i am sure GOI won’t ban this site cos they won’t understand what u r talking about.
    I won’t be surprised if they endorse others to read this blog.

    When we indians are creating a name in intellectual domain just like japan did in auto, our govt does something like this. If some one need a proof of the fact that the govt is not the true representative of the people, this one fits the bill.

  91. Ignorance is bliss. How did you know for sure the US doesn’t control websites? Please remember most of the webservers are all based in the US and as such are under the direct control of the US Government. They don’t have to indulge in these silly IP based bans..they can simply send FBI to arrest the Server Maintainers and seize the Servers.
    Most times these won’t be leaked in the News on the pretext of national security.
    Heck, the US can control servers even if they are in a different country.

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/298741.html
    http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/112083.shtml

    The Indian govt unfortunately has no such power. Even if they send a cease-and-desist letter it will be impotent and useless. The US is no angel! – so please don’t thrash our own country.

    It’s time bloggers think about continuing with blogspot. In all these days Google hasn’t uttered a word in support! Why? Simple. They are a business like any other and 40,000 freebie users doesn’t justify their increasing bandwidth costs. It’s a shame that you have to have you opinion expressed on someone’s charity.

  92. *Cough Cough*, Ahem,
    here comes the clincher……….
    Soubhagya Dash wrote…………..

    “Dipanjan: Sure. after the serial blasts in bombay (dec 92), there was widespread violence, because of hatred preached by *interested parties*. Most of the *real* culprits probably got away, common man on the street suffered.

    After the godhra incident, yet again, riots happened. Again some of the true culprits caught, some got away.”

    So basically in 1992 and 2002 when the “only” riots in the country happened, people actually read blogs and then said.. hey you know what.. lets go and kill some of the “b*****ds.
    Hmmm..
    i guess 1984 riots in Delhi were also due to such things. Right…. I guess … Btw, can you identify some of the real culprits for us all? You know, justice delayed is actually justice denied. And it applies for everyone.

    Guys.. one more thing… on a unrleated..or maybe related issue
    We had Narendra Modi visit Mumbai in this week. And guess what….The secular media went on its offensive.. saying
    ” Go back Modi, we dont need you…”. We had news anchors conducting polls asking people if Narendra Modi should be banned from entering Mumbai. We had everyone shouting out why he is such a bad guy.
    But amidst all this, did one secular channel analyse what he said in Mumbai? None of the channels except Sahara Samay actually showed his speech. And when NDTV and CNN IBN “analysed” what he said, all they could come up was Narendra Modi calling Manmohan Singh a sardar… Come on guys…. give yourself a break. I heard his speech live and i do not think he said anything controversial. He asked why POTA was banned , and why aren’t the states which are under high risk not allowed to use POTA. He pointed out that Shivraj Patil has not dont anything for two years about an act for Gujarat similar to MOCCA present in Maharashtra even now. He asked why should anyone including politicians , film stars and media avoid screening at airports and other places where screening is done..He made fun of BJP’s own leaders for that. Why not set an example.
    Lets for a moment think that it is all about political upmanship. But pray tell me what was wrong in what he said? What did he say against the “minority” community?
    he called Musharaf a Mian? What was wrong about it? Does anyone in India feel that is wrong?
    I have gone a long way off topic here. but seriously apolgoists like some of the ppl who have commented on this commentspace made me sick enough to write so much even if it is mostly unrelated.

  93. Is the ban really off? Blogspot was reachable yesterday (19 July) for a few hours from Airtel ISP. Today (20th) it’s gone again.

  94. /*
    Looks like the comment I made before didn’t get through.. but the one I sent a few seconds latter is published now. I am repeating my comment just in case you didn’t notice they were two different comments
    */

    Ignorance is bliss. How did you know for sure the US doesn’t control websites? Please remember most of the webservers are all based in the US and as such are under the direct control of the US Government. They don’t have to indulge in these silly IP based bans..they can simply send FBI to arrest the Server Maintainers and seize the Servers.
    Most times these won’t be leaked in the News on the pretext of national security.
    Heck, the US can control servers even if they are in a different country.

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/10/298741.html
    http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/112083.shtml

    The Indian govt unfortunately has no such power. Even if they send a cease-and-desist letter it will be impotent and useless. The US is no angel! – so please don’t thrash our own country.

    It’s time bloggers think about continuing with blogspot. In all these days Google hasn’t uttered a word in support! Why? Simple. They are a business like any other and 40,000 freebie users doesn’t justify their increasing bandwidth costs. It’s a shame that you have to have you opinion expressed on someone’s charity.

  95. @AndyS:

    “In nervous times, politically motivated censorship has occurred in the United States as well. In 1954, the Providence, RI, post office attempted to block delivery of Lenin’s State and Revolution to Brown University, citing it as “subversive”. In 1918, the US War Department told the American Library Association to remove a number of pacifist and “disturbing” books, including Ambrose Bierce’s Can Such Things Be? from camp libraries, a directive which was taken to also apply to the homefront. (Censorship in libraries run by the federal government continued afterwards as well. In the 1950s, according to Walter Harding, Senator Joseph McCarthy had overseas libraries run by the United States Information Service pull an anthology of American literature from the shelves because it included Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.) ”

    From: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/banned-books.html

  96. To Dash:

    “doesnt our country have -relatively- more freedom than most other countries?” —

    Ok, so you are satisfied that our country has ‘relatively – more’ free speech. So you wake up one morning and say oh look we have better free speech than Sudan, more net freedom that Pak and what’s more we are ranked three notches higher than Somalia in the Human Development Index..Wow..we should now all bask in glory in all our achievements of relatively- free/better.

    You totally miss the point. It’s not about banning a few blogs. It’s about keeping the guv on their toes, every moment. It’s about not letting them get away with their whimsical means. Remember all your civil liberties won’t go away in a whiffy, but in small steps, until one fine day you realize you don’t have any left. There is a need to criticize the guvs behaivour in every step which even seems to be remotely autocratic.

    Ok, so here is an alternative response which perhaps you wud have liked :
    Govt. bans blogspot, and the blogging community says nothing. The ban stays on and then slowly expands until probably one day you can’t even send mails from Gmail. Not a happy scenario that is it ?

  97. @dipesh:

    I am sorry, but you probably didnt read through all of my posts. I said what you quote in the context of wondering why it was so unbelievable that the govt *DIDNT* ban blogspot.

    I have -several times- emphasized on why its critical for the media to maintain a strict vigil on the govt. Media cant do any basking business. And so, however this may sound, i throw the “missed-the-point” ball back to you..

    Civil liberties are for the law-abiding ppl. PPl whose sole motive is to spread hatred, dont have the right to free access to reach masses. If you missed the news today, the govt has *not* banned blogspot.

    theres no autocracy here, govts all over, ban sites/books/channels that aim at inciting violence. whats new about this??

    Are you saying that these sites shouldnt have been banned? You see, ppl reading such sites neednt go and start a riot, most ppl would go read these – empathise, then go donate money/other resources into groups that use these to organize mobs that incite 1 incident which grows into riots. Its but perfectly sensible to not let such groups have such access…..

    would you be willing to stick your neck on the line? vouch for all these banned sites ?? you wouldnt.

    When there are anti-socials in any society, the society as a whole has to pay some price for peace. when theres a curfew, all suffer. thats a part of life.

    as for the scenario you claim would make me happy…seriously?? i cant go in circles.

  98. How stupid can you get. The Govt of India has ended up looking like a bunch of jokers.
    its really sad to know in the decision making process they have such utter lack of intelligent sources/technology that they couldn’t anticipate alternatives like pkblogs.com and such.
    this just highlights the ignorance of our Rulers..

  99. The whole business is entertaining.
    Minus this episode of ban we would not have discovered that the people in power in India are such jokers. There is a blanket ban on blogs and here we are, visiting any blog we want to visit. The jokers could have taken a lesson from a similar ban in Pakistan in ’03.

  100. I am sad as I have lost my entertainment (of visiting various blogs via proxy servers). I am able to reach various blogs straight way. I will not say, “Hurray, the ban has been lifted!”

  101. @Maya: How stupid can i get…hmm lets get back to this qn later…

    With only an *imagined* ban, I can barely imagine how the GOI is looking like a bunch of jokers. As is evident in terms of *news* coverage, apparently sanity has prevailed outside blogs! ppl relax. as the ISPs have announced, it *is* getting fixed. rellllax!!

    What this whole episode has highlighted, is just how eager ppl are to jump to conclusions..and how determined ppl can be in looking away from facts.

    now since you asked, my depths of stupidity would be a couple hundred feet over your heights of brightness.

  102. Pingback: Splat!

  103. @ amitabha: oh but you have the continued insistence of lot many ppl that it was/IS a huge conspiracy….that the govt is eating away civil rights….

    you have only traded forms of entertainment…;)

  104. @gb: you said “….like the New York Times and Boingboing.net are devoting their time writing about.”

    fwiw, evidently most responsible places had stated that this was likely a technical glitch:

    “There’s a wiki here: Link. We’re treading with a little caution before we go whole-hog at the government. There is a possibility that it is a mistake – where a directive from the government on a few blogs might have been misrepresented by ISP’s here – who have blocked the entire sites.”

    From: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/07/17/report_indian_gov_bl.html

    Anyways, after this whole fiasco is a proven moot point, i am not tracking this discussion any longer. I seem to be going round in circles and enough said already. You are welcome to email me at skdash (at) gmail (dot) com.

    thx all.

  105. @Soubhagya Dash:

    I can understand your being an apologist for the government – even Himesh has fans – but what they are doing can absolutely not be condoned. Even if it turns out that the ban on blog sites was not as total as we thought (and I doubt that – I definitely believe they tried, but their idiocy and tech incompetence got exposed, hence the possible backtrack), the fact remains that under this government, the media is under threat as never before.

    A few days back this very government circulated a draft bill that read like a communist manifesto on the rights of media. This “misunderstood” government was giving gazetted officers and sub-inspectors the right to go inside the newsroom of any channel and seize their equipment if anybody – yes you read that right – anybody complained against their content. Besides there were several other provisions that boggled the mind when I went through them.

    Again, there was furious backtracking from Mr. “No question of censoring the media” Dasmunshi when called upon to explain.

    Soubhagya Dash – get real. Information is under threat and it is slowly growing because of this government. The real surprise is that so many attacks on the press and media did not happen even under more fascist governments like the BJP! Or maybe it did and because of the blogs, we are just more aware and quickly reactive now.

    In that case. I feel that governments are learning that now they cannot get away oppressive with rules and laws that were easy to implement a generation ago.

  106. @Shadows: Pakistan isnt leftist…is it? This is not a leftist-rightist-typist thing but more a mark of totalitarianism.

    ———–

    @GB, yep , its not leftist, but then its islamist… hardly much of a difference. Strangely enough, the moderate right of center (dont think bjp supporter, no party represents us) people like us are often considered anti-freedom anti-liberty etc, but in fact its quite the opposite.

  107. Read this somewhere. Not sure about the veracity of it, though…


    Reference our discussions and correspondence on the issue of blocking of blogs in India, we had taken up the matter with the authorities concerned in the Department of Telecommunications in the Government of India and the facts are as under:

    A two-page write up containing extremely derogatory references to Islam and the holy prophet which had the potential to inflame religious sensitivities in India and create serious law and order problems in the country appeared in a blog facilitated by well known search engines. The matter was immediately taken note of by our CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) and the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) was informed of it. The DOT took up the matter forthwith with the search engines and instructions were also issued to all Internet providers to block the two impertinent pages. Because of a technological error, the Internet providers went beyond what was expected of them which in turn resulted in the unfortunate blocking of all blogs. Department of Telecommunications have now clarified the issue and the error is being rectified and it is expected that normalcy in respect of blogs will soon be restored.

    This is for your information.

    A.R. Ghanashyam
    Deputy Consul General
    New York

    …”

  108. Hey! Let’s give the GOI a chance. It’s quite likely that the banning of blogs, in general, was unintentional, and the GOI had no intention of restricting freedom of speech.

    The problem is that the way they went about it is soooo typical of the techno unsavvyness of GOI officials – who do not realise the futility of trying to block stuff on the internet, and probably give the hate-sites more publicity than they deserve.

    Think of it, how many of you would have read the blogs if you hadn’t heard about it because of the ban? Probably none if you weren’t interested in anti islamic propoganda anyway! So instead of a handful of fanatics slobbering over a couple of posts, we have hundreds of sane, liberal and solid netizens reading hate-posts, just to show that they can.

    But how many will get converted to the fanatic viewpoint by reading the blogs. I suspect, not many…

    Why then such a fuss about obscure blogs?

    So while some of us may agree with Soubhagya Dash’s belief that the GOI is not as black as it is painted, it doesn’t change the fact that they are still a bunch of jokers/ jerks!

  109. @Hariprasad Poojary:

    you are unbelievable. you nut, when do you think the babri masjid was demolished???
    i am seriously amused that 1 could forget this!!! FYI and so YOU get the fact straight:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babri_Mosque#December_6.2C_1992:_the_destruction_of_the_Babri_Masjid

    @SS: thanks for sharing this.

    @shan: FYI, even the BJP govt had tried to ban a particular yahoogroup and then all yahoo groups couldnt be accessed for a while. as for the rest, think what you must.. i think the points made amply clear.

    @sayon: how do you think such propaganda spreads…one neednt be turned fascist, these sites contort truth to present propaganda in ways that -sadly- moves some, into donating money…& that fuels the good-for-nothings on the ground….you or i cannot know the real depth of such, we have to be in either the intelligence or the fascists sides…the govt is just doing its job.

    @Arnab: thanks for sharing that link: here again: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=18954

    Now, i hope ppl wouldnt say that the ISPs are owned/controlled/watever by the govt…PLEASE do the research before you blabber what makes you look…very..very..sad.

  110. Oh my. While I was away, government spokesman sorry “yes boss” man Dash is back again and again (despite going away in a huff a few comments ago). I am convinced now he works for the government. Else how would he get so much time?

    Now that the government, after tremendous backlash from the international press (it even made it to US television), tries blaming the ISPs (which includes the GOVT-OWNED ISP BSNL), our government agent jumps up and down with glee.

    When the government asks BSNL to show cause, it’s like the left hand asking the right hand to show cause for shagging
    off.

    Mr Dash, the government trying to pass the blame off to the ISPs may be fine for spokesmen like you but for people like us who do not eat off government left-overs, the whole “we-didnt-do-it-its-they” thing just does not help.

  111. Pingback: Isaac Schrödinger

  112. No ban in Andamans?I guess they were pitying this lonely blogger.Too bad i moved back to Delhi.meanwhile,I hear that blogs in Mumbai have been re-activated.called MTNL yesterday but it didnt help much.

    The government wanted to block 2 blogs,they blocked the whole community instead.

  113. @Rohan: Stop bashing Soubhagya Dash. We may not agree with his viewpoint, but surely the comment space would be deadly dull if everyone thought the same way. Can’t someone violently believe in the government he/she elected in without being an employee of the same?

    Nevertheless:

    @Soubhagya: Your point about how propoganda is spread is very valid if it weren’t for the first point I was making. Without the hoo haa about the site, how many people would have come across the site? Very very few, I’m afraid. The problem with banning of propoganda by governments (not just ours, but all over the world), is that it just gives more publicity to the same thing that the government tried to suppress in the first place. On top of that, the act of banning makes people wonder if there isn’t any truth in the information that makes the government so afraid that it needs to be suppressed. (It may not be true at all, but the government is seldom trusted to be true to its people).
    Sorry about it, but it is a well accepted fact that there is no easy solution to such a problem, anything you do splendidly backfires against you. So both you and the government that you steadfastly defend, should not feel so confident that the steps taken are the only/ best way to counter hate-propoganda.

  114. @sayon: Your point is very valid. however, you are missing the fact that the publicity happened *because* of the ISP goof up. The govt didnt call a press conference to ban the sites- cos it didnt want this to be public…the fax to the ISPs would perhaps never gotten out. Had the blockage happened the way it was intended, then what you bring up, wouldnt have happened. yes, it was unfortunate.

    what is more unfortunate is because of this whole fiasco, those interested in the sites, now also know of the workarounds to get to the sites. they would -probably- have had to put in more effort to get all those options….presumably its because of these reasons that the govt is now going after the ISPs.

  115. @ sayon: also, theres no way a human being can be 100% confident that xyz method *will* work – in issues like this. only time can tell if taking this (& all others ever taken by any body) decision was good. you or i cannot draw a conclusion on this now.

  116. myself: [crossposted from the relatively harmless, and irregular The Shadows of My Mind in case the government chooses to prevent me from making fun of myself on my own blog for public entertainment.]

    greatbong: @PP: You need to be protected from yourself, no doubt 🙂

    ——–

    @greatbong:
    If the government tries to save us from making fun of ourselves, I don’t think it will enjoy the situation very much if our suppressed instincts find expression in ridicule directed at the government, unless of course they know for a fact that they are a bunch of jokers (to steal a remark from Mohinder Amarnath) and possess a hide that’s immune to our jibes. I guess by now they must have been used to it already.

    More seriously, I do not think that the blogs the DoT blacklisted are really the ones they seek to suppress. The government will not tell you explicitly which opinions they want to suppress, for fear of giving it more publicity. Which is why those supposedly banned blogs seem to be largely harmless. It is possible that some sensitive leak occurred elsewhere, and the government had to block blogspot altogether, not necessarily or not only because it is diffiult to suppress a single blog, but also because they did not wish to pinpoint what they want to suppress, to prevent attracting public attention it. They were ready to accept all criticism for supposed ineptitude and all this hue and cry we raised was taken into consideration before they took this decision.

    People will raise the usual objections about the government playing Big Brother (even I have raised such concerns from time to time) but if I am put in the hot seat, and am trying to save my own job and protect my own interests or those of the group/party/nation I represent, it is likely that I will do the same too. Sounds ominously like neocon doctrine, but administrators through the ages have done such things – and have justified such things – from Sun Tzu to Chanakya to Machiavelli.

    I am saying so neither in praise nor in condemnation of the government action, but only to point out that there is this possibility, however remote. We may not see this action in line with the interests of national security, especially since it has violated our sacred rights, to freedom of speech, to information, but the government did what it felt it had to do, and had taken all the consequent mudslinging into consideration.

  117. @Soubhagya – exactly – the GOI is sufficiently techno-unsavvy not to realise the consequences of their actions. If they realised that their actions would leave them in shit, they would (presumably) have checked with the ISPs on the technical feasibility of blocking specific posts BEFORE sending out the fax.

    The fault of the ISPs – to do what the government tells them to do, without the gumption to tell the GOI that their intention will not work. (I get a queasy feeling that the ISPs are aware that doing so would make them seem suspicious in the eyes of the government officials)

    I don’t know your experience, but my limited contact with the GOI bureaucrats has convinced me that they act first and think afterwards. Which is why we spend several hundred mandays responding to proposed legislations pointing out the disastrous consequences of their proposals, essentially doing what they should have done in the first place – i.e thinking through various scenarios before acting.

    I know that nobody can be 100% sure of the consequences of their action. unfortunately the GOI mandarins have a particularly smug attitude that they know the best. So, my friend, I would not like to follow your example and feel convinced that the GOI has done the right thing.

    You see, I do not think that the GOI is evil – just that a vast majority of ministers and officials are fairly incompetent. Thank heavens for the few competent persons who actually keep the country running.

    @PP: I wish I was more convinced that the GOI deserves the credit for thinking out diaboilcally logical process pointed out in your comment. You see, IMHO the ministry officials are neither Sun Tsu, nor Chanakya, nor Machiavelli. They are (usually) a bunch of plodders who muddle along in the best style of our erstwhile British masters. Quite likely all that actually happenned is that there was a goof-up, and after the outrage, the goof-up has been corrected and a suitable scapegoat is being found to whom the blame can be assigned. As of now it is the ISPs.

  118. @Soubhagya Dash,

    Thanks for calling me nuts.

    You said
    “after the serial blasts in bombay (dec 92), there was widespread violence, because of hatred preached by *interested parties*. Most of the *real* culprits probably got away, common man on the street suffered.”

    There is a difference between the Masjid demolition and the Blasts, I hope.
    There were riots engineered after the Masjid demolition and not after the serial blasts of 93. Period.

    And yes, please do get your facts right. It would have been better if you could have gone through the link yourself. Nothing like educating onesef, I say.

    🙂

    Cheers,
    HP

  119. @ sayon: but it *WAS* technically feasible…the DOT ended up giving the ISPs instructions on how to do it….
    “…said Singhal, adding, “It would help if, in future, DoT could also mention the mechanism by which sites should be blocked.”
    From: http://in.rediff.com/news/2006/j…jul/ 19blogs.htm

    there obviously are more good than bad in the govt, which is why we have gotten to where we are. if the opposite were true, the ban on some & temporary outage should be the last worries.

    i didnt mean to say that i thought the govt was/is right. Under the current circumstances, this is a *reasonable* step to take. good or bad, time will tell.

    @hariprasad poojary: you had said”..There were no riots after the blasts in Mumbai during the nineties.” – i had misread, my bad. apologies.

  120. @soubhagya:

    “there obviously are more good than bad in the govt, which is why we have gotten to where we are. if the opposite were true, the ban on some & temporary outage should be the last worries.”

    Very true – which is why I spend 15 minutes a day in discussion on this blog, and several hours daily drafting responses to daft draft proposals by the government. Trust me pal, if you hear some of the stories of how some laws and rules are passed, you’d feel pretty sad about GOI.

    But then, this is GB’s blog, and we’re discussing a specific issue – IMHO the GOI has goofed up spectacularly. Its this atmosphere of incompetence and unwillingness to recognise its fault that makes India a fertile ground for evil to creep in. Read Imtiaz Ahmed’s “Reading Gramsci in the days of Hindutva”, and you realise that the moral atmosphere in India is similar to that of Italy and Germany prior to Mussolini and Hitler taking over. The conditions are just right.

    Its this atmosphere, where, due to liberties getting ‘inadvertantly’ chopped off, people don’t notice when real tyranny comes to power. Read Gramsci, and you will realise that tyranny does not need a bloodbath to become powerful – it only needs a morally ambiguous atmosphere – where people start saying ‘I don’t mind some liberties getting trampled – I’m not getting affected myself, and anyway the government is actually doing it for my own good.’

    Incidentally, why don’t we aree to get off commenting on this post and carry on with GB’s next post ‘Censorship gone wrong’, which is essentially on the same subject?

  121. Pingback: jace.seacrow.com

  122. lol! my first time here, that was a nice sum up. couldnt agree with you more…
    terrorists are the most boring lot– ‘mommy im bored, lemme blow up a train’ i mean thats the way they ALL think!!

    but oh look muslim group SIMI decides not to be so intellectually challenged and decided to get with the times and BLOG their woes away.

    idiots.

    anyway what was the govt thinking!?! oh thats right they weren’t. they prolly got too high on the national security drug and then when the high wore off (which happened when the pakis brought abt pkblogs) they said OH lets jus give those ppl their blogs back.

    what will they think of next i wonder… ‘ban on ice cream! we want those SIMIs to wilt in the heat!! muhhaha…’

    idiots.

  123. Pingback: BinnyVA » Blog Archive » Blog Ban Lifted

  124. I am a li’l late to the party .. but your take on the ban has been so awesome. Thoroughly enjoyed it. When are u publishing a book ‘The Best of Great Bong’? Maybe you can put up your personal favourites and let the vistors rate it before you finalise the collection.
    Keep up the great work dude..!

  125. Pingback: Aaj Ka Gandhigiri at Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

  126. Pingback: encephalous leadership « staying.cool

  127. Pingback: Big Brother Flexes His Muscles in India | Gates of Vienna

Have An Opinion? Type Away

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s