Pradeep Nair, a serious blogger since 2004, is not unduly perturbed by the blocking of blogs in India which the government came up with a couple of days ago for security reasons.
He and many ingenious bloggers like him have devised ways to bypass
ISPs which have blocked popular blogsites like blogspot.com.nd,
geocities.com, and typepad.com. Such sites were blocked because the
Department of Telecommunications sent a notice to ISPs to block certain
sites which were deemed antinational and incendiary to religious
The ISPs claimed that they did not have technical means to do that but
had gone all out to block out domains where most of the bloggers posted
Although most bloggers have devised ingenious ways to get to their
favorite blogs, the very fact that the government could come down in
such a heavy handed manner has created a virtual furore in the country.
Incidentally, about four years ago, the same happened to Yahoo groups
–which was blocked for two days by the government citing security
reasons. But that had not created this amount of media hype – simply
because the blog culture was not really present at that time.
It certainly does not look like blocking blogs is a way to curb
terrorism. Bloggers are just having more fun and think that this is a
challenge - to get around the blockade by figuring out how to read
their favorite sites.
One Web site offered help by way of a free blog gateway. “ There are so
many ways to access our blogs, I am still accessing my sites and people
are posting on my blogsite,” says Nair, a journalist based in the city.
His blogsite has links to interesting news events which gets about
50-75 hits per day.
Security has to be excercised in different ways and at government
levels – not by going to ISPs and telling them to block certain sites.
Says Ramesh B, IT head, Eduquity, an IT firm feels that this kind of a
blockade is nonsense, “It is like cutting off your freedom to talk - if
you cant talk in your office, you find another place to do it – the
same thing is happening with bloggers – they are going elsewhere to
just post anything they want.
“If the government has to really come down on something serious, it
should be on sites like Google maps and other sites where terrorists
can easily pinpoint our defense and other critical establishments. You
see Taiwan and Korea have blocked this -- we should look at ways to
avoid this rather than block blogsites.”
Today, the government is at its wits end trying to find out ways to
control terrorism and believes that the internet is aiding and abetting
“Honestly, blogs don’t really matter that much in India. How many
people have PCs at home? About 5 -10 million in a population of over a
billion? Or if they are in offices, people are busy working.
“The blog culture has not really matured enough to have any real impact
on Indian society. I think bloggers are young urbanites -- those who
think it is fashionable to be a blogger or there are some blogs for
services like the Mumbai Help which came up after the serial blast.
They can never be a serious threat to the government. Do you seriously
think that a terrorist is going to have a blogsite and incite people to
join him in his activities? Or send emails or post terrorist
information there?” asks Tamanna Chopra, another blogger in Bangalore.
Everyone agrees that this was a knee-jerk kind of a decision and the
government had not really made it clear that to the ISPs what they had
to do to block certain sites.
“Indian government will have to get lot smarter to counter how the
internet is used by terrorism -- blocking domains will only affect the
masses and I am sure terrorists will be smart enough and ready with a
workaround. And, if you think that blogs are aiding terrorists, you
should rather spy on the blogs and be clever enough to know when a next
attack is going to be more likely,” says enthusiast blogger and
entrepreneur ,” adds Shalin Jain, an enthusiast blogger and CEO, of
Meanwhile, according to Amitabh Singhal, president, Internet Service
Providers Association of India (ISPAI), the blockade is to be lifted
within 48 hours. He has acknowledged that some ISPs mistook the
Department of Telecommunications notice and blocked entire blog
domains. They did not have the technical knowledge to block a
sub-domain and leave others still accessible, reports another website.
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