[Politech] India bans Yahoo Groups site critical of government [fs]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Thu Sep 25 2003 - 22:28:37 PDT

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    Apparently the censorship order applied to only one Yahoo Groups list but 
    some ISPs blocked the entire Yahoo Groups website. Some reportedly may have 
    narrowed the block since then. Politech subscribers have pointed me to 
    these useful discussions on a local mailing list (thanks, folks):
    has blocked access to groups.yahoo.com since
    13th September 2003 and on further enquiries tell me
    that it is because Govt. of India has sent them a
    directive to block specific Yahoo! Groups and since
    Dishnet doesn't know how to do that, it has blocked
    access to the entire URL http://groups.yahoo.com/
    I saw it a couple of days ago. I've asked for a scanned copy, which I
    will hopefully be able to make available to the list.
    The group in question is a list of some Indonesian anti-Indonesian
    government group.
    See also this coverage:
    Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 08:26:03 -0400 (EDT)
    From: "John F. McMullen" <observer@private>
    To: "johnmac's living room" <johnmacsgroup@private>
    cc: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    Subject: India blocks access to Yahoogroups
     >From Cyberia -- I pasted in the whole story
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Arvind T. Thattai <a.thattai@private>
    To: CYBERIA-L@private
    As of Monday, internet users in India can no longer access
    Yahoogroups following a government order requiring all ISPs to block
    the site.  The government's request was confined to a specific
    group, run by a seccessionist organisation.  ISPs responded by
    blocking access to the entire cite, claiming they are unable to
    block only a particular group.
    If memory serves right, the last attempt by the Indian government to
    control the net (by blacklisting the websites of several Pakistani
    newspapers) was quietly dropped after a number of Indian sites
    hosted overseas began mirroring the sites in question.  It will be
    interesting to see how this particular round develops.
    The story is here:
    'Anti-national' Yahoo Groups blocked
    By Shibu Thomas
    Cyberspace users in India are up in arms against the government. For the
    first time since the Information Technology Act, 2000, was introduced, the
    government has banned a site, Yahoo Groups, for publishing anti-government
    material. Many netizens believe the government is trying to gag the
    Internet, a medium for free flow of information.
    On Monday, when Yahoo users tried to access Yahoo Groups, they got error
    messages saying the site had been blocked. Neville Taraporewala, who heads
    yahoo.coms India operations said, We received no communication from the
    government. We realised Yahoo Groups had been blocked when users started
    calling us. On checking with the Internet Service Providers (ISPs), we
    came to know the government had told them to block the site.
    The government move came stealthily. In a notification dated August 10,
    2003, Jayant Kumar, director, DoT, asked ISPs to block
    groups.yahoo.com/groups/kynhun for promoting anti-national news and
    containing material against the Government of India and the state
    government of Meghalaya. The Kynhun Group, which has barely 25 members and
    a total of 20 messages, is run by an organisition called Hynniewtrep
    International Liberation Council.
    Though some of the messages call for independence, many of them are about
    corruption, police brutality against minorities and lack of public
    A VSNL spokesperson said, If the government issues a notification, the
    ISPs have to fall in line. However, since the technology to block a
    particular group is complicated, ISPs have completely blocked access to
    the whole of Yahoo Groups.
    What is banned
    The government wanted the Kynhun Group banned from cyberspace. But ISP
    blocked Yahoo Groups  a service provided by Yahoo, where users can form
    their own groups to share ideas and information.
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