Reason as the Leading Motive

Totally Cut-off

Posted by Jerry on July 20, 2006


Via John Enright, I learned of this Infotech Indiatimes report:

Government sources also added that the ban on specific blogs was unlikely to be lifted and also did not rule out the possibility of it being made permanent.

The Internet Service Providers Association of India, the body representing all internet service providers, on Wednesday instructed all its members to lift the blockage at the domain level.

This means that if you have a blog where the domain level is Blogspot or Typepad, this blockage will no longer apply to all users, but only at the sub-domain level. At the sub-domain level, only those 17 blogs which have been blacklisted by the government will continue to be inaccessible.

However, this will take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to implement, and comes with another rider — your blog may continue to be blocked if your service provider does not have the monitoring mechanism for selective blockage at the sub-domain level. [emphasis mine]

So, basically, if our ISP’s don’t have the requisite technology, and if the government decides to make this ban on the “17 sites” permanent, I probably will never be able to access any of the blogspot sites of my friends so long as I’m in India! Ridiculous! 

As of today, even my company’s server has had to comply with the government’s directive blocking access to all blogspot, blogger, typepad, and geocities websites.

Those of you whose sites on blogspot I regularly visit, I will not be able to do so–atleast not as long as I am getting online from anywhere in India–until the government decides to back off again and allow its citizens to communicate freely over the internet.

I am cut-off from a huge swath of the blogosphere right now… and from many of you who are my lovely online blogging companions. I’m not sure how long this isolation will last.

There is nothing much left for me to do regarding this issue. I am mostly glad that WordPress has been left alone and I am able to voice my shrill protests against this infuriating violation of my rights.

Even from a common sense perspective, this ban on blogs and websites is ridiculously stupid. Presumably, the blogger domains have been banned because the government found reason to believe that terrorists were communicating via these sites. Okay, fine maybe they were. So what? By censoring these sites, are the terrorists going to be helpless and clueless about their means of communication? Does the government think they don’t use cellphones or email accounts? What about Yahoo! mail? Is that next in line for a ban? And I’m sure this ban won’t last forever… at some point, the government will have to re-open access to these blog sites. What makes them so certain that the terrorists simply won’t restart their accounts on those blogs or create new ones and continue using them?

This “broad day light” strategy of banning websites, stealing our freedoms, and curbing the free flow of information on the internet is incredibly foolish; instead of conducting clandestine investigations and tracing terrorist communiques unbeknownst to them, the Indian government has acted like a nut–a thuggish nut–coming out in the open and revealing their intelligence gathering strategy.

6 Responses to “Totally Cut-off”

  1. Mark said

    I apologize to Ergo Sum for not linking to what is going on in India currently. As Ergo has blogged about over the past few days, India has shut down various blog sites because the government believes that individuals involved in the Mumbai blasts were using these sites for communication purposes. In Ergo’s lastest entry he states the following, which somehow escaped his government:

    “By censoring these sites, are the terrorists going to be helpless and clueless about their means of communication? Does the government think they don’t use cellphones or email accounts? What about Yahoo! mail? Is that next in line for a ban?”

    India is the largest democracy in the world. It has arbitrarily removed free speech rights from its citizens with this move. To all of you who expect democracy to be the steady protector of your rights I offer this quote from my favorite movie “The Patriot”:

    “Why should I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away, for 3,000 tyrants one mile away?”

    Democracy is no godsend people. Adhering to Objectivist principles is (well, not godsent anyway).

    Please stand in support of Ergo Sum and against the blatant disregard of the rights of his fellow Indian citizens.

  2. Jason said

    Don’t worry, Ergo… I’ll still visit you here until those idiots get their heads out of their asses…

    Not like my country, of course, where we voted people in twice now that keep their heads perpetually in their asses…

    It will get better. It has to.

    I like the quote, Mark!

  3. Ergo said

    Mark, thank you for your support. Somehow, I don’t believe the Indian government cares what we (the tiny minority) have to say about any of this. Nevertheless, your standing up in support of free speech rights even when it’s not directly affecting you is perfectly consistent with the benevolent spirit of Objectivism. I thank you.

    Jason, it’s so annoying that I can’t get to read your wonderfully hilarious posts. As you probably know, your site was among the very few that I visited on a regular basis. I’m so curious to know what you have been writing.

    Infact, I am curious to know what all my blogging companions have been writing! Maybe one way to circumvent this government’s ban, and continue with our free expression and exchange of opinions, I welcome anyone (mostly, those of you on my blogroll) to email me your posts and I will post it up here on my blog, duly credited to you, with a permanent link to your site.

    My email address is jjdoub@yahoo.com

    Alternatively, everyone from the banned domains is free to post their recent blogposts here in the Comments thread of THIS post.

    That maybe one way to go against this suppression of our minds, our voices, our ideas, and continue to engage in the trade of ideas as free men!

  4. Travis said

    Ergo, you should look up anonymous proxies such as Tor. They might allow you to access outside sites, even if slowly.

  5. Hiren said

    True. The government is both ignorant and high handed. How can a facility that entails the fundamental right of a citizen be stopped so brazenly.

  6. Jason said

    I’ll send you a forward of my last few posts… but don’t feel like you have to post them here, of course! That would feel odd, like I was usurping your posts or something… 😀

    But if you have any comments you would like to add to them, I will gladly add them to the comments sections of those posts, and e-mail you back with any replies you might generate…

    Although, I have to say, now I feel pressured to be funny…. 😦

    😀 Hang in there, man!

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