Stop blocking blog sites, ISPs told

The Indian government late Thursday told ISPs (Internet service providers) there to stop blocking entire blog Web sites such as Google Inc.’s

The move comes after Indian bloggers and the media found that most blog Web sites were inaccessible to them, although the government’s Department of Telecommunications (DOT) had notified ISPs on July 13 that they had to block only 17 Web sites and blogs.

Some ISPs blocked entire domains such as rather than the sub-domains that they had been instructed to block, said Deepak Maheshwari, secretary of the ISP Association of India. The ISP Association advised its members earlier Thursday not to block entire domains, but only the Web sites and blogs specified by the government.

The DOT in a statement Thursday said it had instructed all ISPs in the country to provide unhindered Internet access except for the Web sites and Web pages specifically mentioned in its earlier order. The DOT also sought explanations from ISPs about why action should not be taken against them for blocking unintended Web sites and Web pages.

Under India’s Information Technology Act 2000, Web sites can be blocked if they are found to promote hate, violence, terrorism and pornography. The DOT has not explained why it told ISPs to block the 17 sites and blogs.

The sites might have been blocked because of concerns they were being used by terrorists to communicate with one another, according to government sources. Indian police are still investigating bomb blasts in Mumbai trains earlier this month that killed about 200 people and injured more than 700.

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