Dailymotion, Vimeo, Pastebin Blocked In India

By: Rajat Gaur
I’ve been unable to access the video sharing site Dailymotion (if you haven’t heard about it, it’s almost like YouTube) on my BSNL ADSL Broadband internet connection for more than two weeks now. Since the site was working fine on Airtel 3G internet, I assumed that it must be some issue with BSNL. I googled about it to see if other users were also facing the same problem. Many BSNL and Hathway subscribers had complained on various internet forums that they were unable to access Dailymotion, but no one had a clue if its an ISP issue or the websites have been blocked by an official order.
Today, Times Of India and DNA India reported that the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has ordered the ISPs to block 32 websites including popular video sharing sites Dailymotion and Vimeo and the text storage site Pastebin. Some other popular websites that were blocked include the internet archive site archive.org and the web hosting site Weebly (websites hosted on Weebly are not blocked though). Pastebin even tweeted about the ban in India on its official Twitter handle. There hasn’t been any official word on the reason why these websites have been blocked.internet-censorship Twitter user Pranesh Prakash today posted a screenshot of the notification issued by the Indian Department of Telecommunication (dated December 17, 2014) asking the ISPs to block access to 32 URLs in the country. Here is a complete list of all the sites that DoT has ordered to block-:
  1. https://justpaste.it/
  2. http://hastebin.com
  3. http://codepad.org
  4. http://pastie.org
  5. https://pastee.org
  6. http://paste2.org
  7. http://slexy.org
  8. http://paste4btc.org
  9. http://0bin.net
  10. http://www.heypasteit.com
  11. http://sourceforge.net/projects/phorkie
  12. http://atnsoft.com/textpaster
  13. https://archive.org
  14. http://www.hpage.com
  15. http://www.ipage.com
  16. http://www.webs.com
  17. http://www.weebly.com
  18. http://www.000webhost.com
  19. https://www.freehosting.com
  20. https://vimeo.com
  21. http://www.dailymotion.com
  22. http://pastebin.com
  23. https://gist.github.com
  24. http://www.ipaste.eu
  25. https://thesnippetapp.com
  26. https://snipt.net
  27. http://hny.cz
  28. https://github.com
  29. http://snipplr.com/
  30. http://terbin.com
  31. http://www.snippetsource.net
  32. https://cryptbin.com

How Effective Is The Ban

As I mentioned earlier, I am unable to access Dailymotion on my BSNL ADSL Broadband connection and I've also read many BSNL users complaining about the same issue on various internet forums. Other websites like Weebly and Pastebin are also not accessible. I was however able to access Vimeo and archive.org on my BSNL connection. Some Vodafone 3G and Hathway internet users have also complained on community forums that they are being denied access to certain website by their ISPs. Airtel seems to have defied the Government order as all the websites on the list were accessible on Airtel 3G internet.

Reason Why India Blocked These Websites

Although there has been no official word on the issue, Arvind Gupta, National Head, IT cell, BJP has tweeted that the websites were blocked as a result on an advisory by the Anti-Terrorism squad as they were carrying Anti-India content from ISIS. In another tweet he also made it clear that the websites that have removed the objectionable content are being unblocked.

My Take On The Issue

I'm in general always against any kind internet censorship. Usually, websites are blocked because they are carry some content that is believed to hurt religious sentiments or a particular group of the society (for example Pakistan blocked YouTube for an anti-Muslim video). This is against the principle of freedom of expression and I’m totally against it. Since this time India is blocking websites to prevent terrorist activities it is somewhat understandable, but I still argue that it is one of the most stupid things that the government could do to combat terrorism. If some terrorist groups are using some websites to communicate or to plan their activities, they are probably not so dumb to accept the ban. They must have heard of proxy servers and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Moreover, they probably have an international network. If you block a website in India, they’ll do their planning somewhere else. So it simply doesn’t make much sense. The government should instead focus on some other really affective ways to fight terrorism.