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32 Websites Reportedly Blocked In India To Prevent ISIS From Spreading Anti-India Content

The URLs were allegedly blocked in India by the Department of Telecom. Arvind Gupta, a national head of the ruling BJP, claims the websites in question were being used by ISIS to spread anti-India rhetoric.

Getty Images / ROB ELLIOTT

A circular being shared widely on social media suggests that all Indian internet providers were instructed by the Department of Telecom to block access to a list of 32 URLs, including those for Vimeo, Dailymotion, Github, and archive.org.

The circular, dated 17 December, cites Section 69A of the Information Technology Act (2000) as the reason for the blocks. The section in question empowers India’s central and state governments to intercept and monitor information generated, transmitted, or stored digitally if it is “necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence”.

While the authenticity of the circular has yet to be verified, several Indian internet users took to social media to complain about their inability to access the websites listed on it.

5. Here’s a magnified image of the list of URLs, taken from the tweet above:

6. Arvind Gupta, a national head of the ruling BJP’s IT cell, said the blocks are an anti-terrorism measure and that websites complying with instructions to take down anti-India content posted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are being unblocked.

Gupta does not hold a formal government post.

The websites that have been blocked were based on an advisory by Anti Terrorism Squad, and were carrying Anti India content from ISIS. 1/2

— Arvind Gupta (@buzzindelhi)

The sites that have removed objectionable content and/or cooperated with the on going investigations, are being unblocked. 2/2

— Arvind Gupta (@buzzindelhi)

9. Regardless of the reasons for the blocks, nobody is happy about them:

Are BSNL Broadband users experiencing block on http://t.co/U9ZkT8RrRt? Please tell me urgently..

— Prathamesh KriSang (@prakrisang)

Some questions remain. 1. Why is there no PIB release on it ? 2. Why has the statement only come after the blocking order was leaked?

— Under the Gavel (@aparatbar)

The only reason they haven't blocked even Twitter as a URL is because they're all on it. #BuffoonBlocks

— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor)

They blocked http://t.co/z63c2ldIRn and GitHub ? ROFL! "History repeats itself. Once as a tragedy and once as a farce"

— Gautam Ghosh (@GautamGhosh)

@Hindu_Minority @buzzindelhi shamefull that bjp is curtailing internet freedom in india.. such mass blocking has been unheard of before

— Shobhit Todi (@shobhit_todi)

Another shameful day for #freespeech in #India. Way to start the new year. https://t.co/Ue6LZqODCi

— Sonia Faleiro (@soniafaleiro)

17. At the time of writing, some are reporting on social media that the process of unblocking sites that have complied with the government’s take-down requests is under way.

https://t.co/yOW3TGWLI1 is now working for me under ACT. So as per @buzzindelhi the process of unblocking has started.

— Guruprasad B Gudi (@Hindu_Minority)

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Rega Jha is the Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed India and is based in Mumbai.
Contact Rega Jha at rega.jha+pw@buzzfeed.com.
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