Soundcloud, Telegram among sites blocked by Reliance Jio in India’s porn ban

Soundcloud, Telegram among sites blocked by Reliance Jio in India’s porn ban

India is the third-largest consumer of online pornography in the world. The country attempted to ban porn in 2015 but was forced to lift it soon after following a mass outcry. This ban was enforced again in October 2018 when the Department of Telecom (DoT) asked telecom providers to wall off more than 800 porn-related websites.

India’s recent attempt at banning porn came after a rape accused admitted to watching stimulating videos before raping an under-age fellow student. However, the diktat holds telecom operators responsible for preventing users from accessing porn over the internet, with no direct implications for the viewers themselves.

Since Indians came up with easy ways to bypass the ban, including services such as proxy resolvers, private DNS, torrents, or VPNs, one of the major telecom operators – Reliance Jio – turned to block such services. But not just porn, proxy sites, or VPN, Reliance Jio has also been accused of blocking access to services such as Soundcloud as well as Telegram‘s website.

A list of some 135 complaints from all across India has been curated by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) – an activist group which advocates the right to privacy on the internet. IFF remarked that blocking the platforms for messaging and entertainment was an attack on the Right to Information and a violation of net neutrality rules in India. The organization had sought these responses after Redditors from India reported that Reliance Jio was blocking VPN services.

Jio is blocking proxy websites from india

While the majority (85) of the plaintiffs use Reliance Jio, a significant number (41) have reported that another operator Airtel has also been VPN and proxy sites. Airtel users can, however, access Telegram and Soundcloud. The remaining few complaints point to telcos including BSNL and Vodafone, and ISPs such as Hathway and ACT Fibernet.

As a remedy, the IFF is requesting all Indians facing such issues, especially with sites like Soundcloud and Telegram, to come forward and add to the existing data. The group has also raised the issue with India’s telecom regulator TRAI and the DoT, but these complaints have been unheard due to the small number of complaints, which seems insignificant in front of India’s half-a-billion-strong internet user base.


Source: Internet Freedom Foundation

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