Indian ISPs are definitely blocking pornography websites (Update)

It’s so funny that the Indian government and ISPs (internet service providers) seem to think porn websites can simply be banned across the country. Twitter and Reddit users have been spotted complaining about being unable to access adult video sites. We have been able to confirm the fact with an ISP who wishes to remain unnamed about this sly move by the authorities.

We have been unable to load well known porn websites like Tube 8, PornHub, Spankwire, Video-one, Xvideos and several others on a local ISP connection. Meanwhile, we can still access these portals through our Airtel broadband network. The BJP-led government has been taking a lot of criticism for its totalitarian approach towards certain policies like the recent ban on beef in Maharashtra. While the prohibition has been implemented by the state government, it is headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who belongs to the ruling party.

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This may be why the ban on porn websites has been rolled out quietly. It’s probably intended just to see how Internet users across the country will react to it. But an individual (18 years or above) viewing porn in private is not counted as an offense in the eyes of the law. Legally speaking, preventing adults from accessing such portals based on some random person’s or entity’s moral outlook is a violation of the right to personal liberty. Transmitting such content is punishable by law though.

Also see: Govt to block all porn sites in India, asks Internet providers to deny access to such websites

As mentioned in our previous report, attempting to block porn sites in India is a waste of time and resources. Servers hosting adult content are usually abroad and therefore beyond the reach of our laws. Additionally, you can access such websites through proxy servers. On top of that, it’s like trying to slay a many-headed demon. ISPs may ban a list of URLs, only to see them arise relocated and disguised under another name. The political class seems to have a lot of free time at hand, don’t you think?

UPDATE: It looks like the Department of Telecommunications is indeed behind the ban on pornography sites, going by this thread on Reddit.

UPDATE 2: Authorities say the ban is temporary and the over 800 sites that have been blocked have content related to child pornography or links to such portals.