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Centre blocks 32 websites for security reasons, restores some later

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jan 02, 2015 02:13 PM
The Centre on Wednesday asked Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block 32 websites citing national security concerns, especially from terror group ISIS.

The article by S. Ronendra Singh was published in the Hindu Businessline on December 31, 2014. Pranesh Prakash gave his inputs.

The move created a flutter on social networking sites, as most of the Web sites, such as,,,, and, were being used by global communities like application developers for free movies and books, coders and text sharing.

By late evening, some sites were restored.

Sources in the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology confirmed the development and told BusinessLine: “It was based on some national security issues, and we cannot compromise with our nation’s security….”

A senior official from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said the directive had come from a Mumbai court after the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had approached it to block some Web sites carrying anti-India content.

The matter came to light after a circular, purportedly sent by DoT to ISPs, showed up on social networking sites, listing the sites, along with some screen shots. Incidentally, the said circular had edited out the letter head, date and the signature below. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT cell head, Arvind Gupta, tweeted saying ‘the Web sites that have been blocked were based on an advisory by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, and were carrying anti-India content from ISIS’.

However, later in the evening, Gupta, in his tweet said, some of the Web sites such as have been restored because they have removed ‘objectionable content and/or cooperated with the on going investigations’.

However, the blocked Web sites raised a furore in the social media wherein people said the Government should amend the laws than do such things.

“The problem isn’t just about the specific sites that are blocked; the problem is always about the bad law + process relating to #GoIBlocks,” Pranesh Prakash, Policy Director at Centre for Internet and Society tweeted. He said the 69A Rules (of the IT Act 2000) does not allow for transparency, accountability and time-limits on blocks, so it is easily misused by the Government, the courts and individuals.