Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Thoughts on censorship

Has the government of India completely gone nuts? Blocking millions of blogs is just plain stupid.

So what do we do?

Some people have suggested the use of the RTI act. But I do not think that is going to work. I am pretty sure that there would be provisions to deny information on the basis of defence/National Interest. So, all your replies are going to like, "Sorry, we cannot provide the information you have requested because it is classified." And that would be the end of it.

The more that I think of this, the more I feel that the ISPs have goofed up big time. I am pretty sure that the government gave them a list of blogspot sites to ban, like -
abc.blogspot.com
...
xyz.blogspot.com

What the ISPs seem to have done is translated these addresses to IP and blocked the IPs. The thing is all these addresses map to the same IP! So, if they tried to block one address, every blog got blocked! And I think this is a pretty common mistake to make...

Even if the ISPs correct their errors, the issue of censorship remains. The government trying to block websites is not new. They did it with geocities some years ago, if I remember correctly and the controversy related to 'Final Solution' is well known! Can we really accept censorship is a different and quite debatable issue.

Update: Maybe I am right...

7 comments:

gaddeswarup said...

Pl. see http://www.physorg.com/news72460837.html too.
Swarup

MadHat said...

It definitely looks like a goofup. But this does open a can of worms. The tight censorship present in India is a cause of concern for all democratic processes. It is one thing to censor vulgar scenes in hollywood movies but quite another to get rid of dissenting opinions in the name of censorship.
For me, the issue should not stop at just clearing the goofup but should go further than that. On what can and what cannot be censored. Whether anything can be censored at all, etc, etc...

Vaibhav said...

By the way, one way to bypass this is use:

www.pkblogs.com/***
for ***@blogspot.com

(Seems setup by the pakistanis which are in the same boat us ... just since a little longer!)

obc voice said...

can't access blogspot through sify...how's it in bangalore?

MadHat said...

well, it looks like they are waiting for the last second of their 48 hr deadline...

MadHat said...

nice to hear from you, vaibhav. have not chatted with you in a while...

gaddeswarup said...

Worse things are in the offing. Pl. check the proposed amendment to RTI in Alternative Perspective and
http://dcubed.blogspot.com/
Swarup

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