India blocks Yahoo site

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued orders to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in the country to block the URL, according to a government statement Monday.

The URL on the Yahoo Web site was ordered blocked, as it was found to be promoting anti-national news, and containing material against the government of India and the state government of Meghalaya, the statement said. The northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya is a hot-bed of violent insurgency by separatist movements.

The DoT order blocking the Yahoo U was issued following instructions from the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IND), a new agency set up in July under the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, with the authority to block Web sites.

Government officials were not available for comment on the order blocking the Yahoo URL.

An order of the government in February made CERT-IND the only authority for the issue of instructions blocking Web sites. CERT-IND is empowered to instruct the DoT to block Web sites on receipt of complaints. In this case the complaint is likely to have come from the Indian government, which is concerned about secessionist activity in Meghalaya, according to analysts.

On receiving instructions from CERT-IND, DoT, which has regulatory control over the ISPs, has to ensure that the Web sites are blocked, and inform CERT-IND accordingly.

This is the first time that CERT-IND has blocked a resource on a Web site. Following the order from the DoT, Indian ISPs blocked the entire Yahoo Groups channel, as it was not found to be technically feasible to block only a single group, according to ISP sources.

“The representatives of Yahoo in India were requested to remove the objectionable material from the reference (URL), however they declined to comply with the request,” the government statement said.

Officials at Yahoo India Web Services Pvt Ltd in Mumbai, the Indian operation of Yahoo Inc. in Sunnyvale, California, however said they have not received any such representation from the Indian government, and in any case the Yahoo group the government objects to is on the Yahoo U.S. site and not on the Yahoo India site.