The cat and mouse game of Internet censorship in India is getting too dangerous with each day.
A few weeks back, several Indian ISP’s censored torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and blocked the very popular video sharing site Vimeo. The list of ISP’s include Airtel, Reliance, MTNL and Youbroadband – some very big names who have thousands of customers in India. The explanation – Reliance Entertainment has obtained John Doe court orders and ISP’s are directed to block access to torrent and video sharing sites where pirated materials are distributed. (see example)
I am not sure how I am able to surf Vimeo, ThePirateBay, Pastebin and other blocked sites through my internet connection. I use BSNL broadband and have a Tata Photon connection but both these ISP’s haven’t blocked any site because of a so called court order. How awkwardly rebellious!
But then, Newton’s third law must manifest itself.
Anonymous, the infamous hacker group decided to have a go at Indian Government and they managed to take down Indian Government websites (here is the tweet from opindia). Now they are going all guns blazing towards Reliance and they have successfully hacked into the servers of Reliance communication, a sister concern of Reliance Entertainment. This blow from Anonymous is confirmed after some users reported that they were greeted by the following message, while trying to access social sites through the Reliance communications network.
The defaced page of Anonymous India has a pretty long “press release” which kind of announces their propaganda against the injustice caused by Indian Government and Indian ISP’s such as Reliance communications. The group has also organized a Facebook event asking users to wear masks on June 9th, 2012, in protest for internet freedom and free speech.
Offense is the best defense. Agreed.
But the way these hacks are projected to the public, the issue may turn into a ridicule – everyone fighting with the other and nobody has any clue what they are fighting for. The issue here is freedom of voice, which can not be achieved by stabbing swords in each others back. The principle is forgotten amongst silly rules, turning the situation into a bureaucratic joke.
We have seen this mob war in past, Indian hackers hacked Pakistani websites which was soon followed by a Pakistani group hacking Indian Government sites. Why did the Indian hackers hacked Pakistani Government sites in the first place? The goal was to protest against Mumbai Bomb blasts, but in practice – their movement turned into a cyber war which was cease-fired through mutual agreement.
Now that Anonymous has declared war on Indian ISP’s, this might hurt end users in the long run. The law has a very long arm, scratching an unhealed wound will only make matters worse.
Update: Anonymous India has released a video on YouTube urging users to join their cause on June 9th, 2012. This is getting interesting!