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Mapping Web Censorship & Net Neutrality Violations

 

For over a year, researchers at the Centre for Internet and Society have been studying website blocking by internet service providers (ISPs) in India. We have learned that major ISPs don’t always block the same websites, and also use different blocking techniques. To take this study further, and map net neutrality violations by ISPs, we need your help. We have developed CensorWatch, a research tool to collect empirical evidence about what websites are blocked by Indian ISPs, and which blocking methods are being used to do so. Read more about this project (link), download CensorWatch (link), and help determine if ISPs are complying with India’s net neutrality regulations.

 

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Learn more about website blocking in India, through our recent work on the issue —
  1. Using information from court orders, user reports, and government orders, and running network tests from six ISPs, Kushagra Singh, Gurshabad Grover and Varun Bansal presented the largest study of web blocking in India. Through their work, they demonstrated that major ISPs in India use different techniques to block websites, and that they don’t block the same websites (link).
  2. Gurshabad Grover and Kushagra Singh collaborated with Simone Basso of the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) to study HTTPS traffic blocking in India by running experiments on the networks of three popular Indian ISPs: ACT Fibernet, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Jio (link).
  3. For The Leaflet, Torsha Sarkar and Gurshabad Grover wrote about the legal framework of blocking in India — Section 69A of the IT Act and its rules. They considered commentator opinions questioning the constitutionality of the regime, whether originators of content are entitled to a hearing, and whether Rule 16, which mandates confidentiality of content takedown requests received by intermediaries from the Government, continues to be operative (link).
  4. In the Hindustan Times, Gurshabad Grover critically analysed the confidentiality requirement embedded within Section 69A of the IT Act and argued how this leads to internet users in India experiencing arbitrary censorship (link).
  5. Torsha Sarkar, along with Sarvjeet Singh of the Centre for Communication Governance (CCG), spoke to Medianama delineating the procedural aspects of section 69A of the IT Act (link).
  6. Arindrajit Basu spoke to the Times of India about the geopolitical and regulatory implications of the Indian government’s move to ban fifty-nine Chinese applications from India (link).

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