13 June, 2021

Blockers Anonymous

DoT's leaked blocking orders raise unanswered questions about clandestine censorship

Blockers Anonymous

It was Friday evening, after the edit meeting, when the print editors go out to party and the web editor stoically goes back to work, when the phone rang.

“Dude, watch out, your URLs are on the list.”

Our business editor, calling from his sickbed, could barely suppress his glee. His was the first of the many calls that followed that evening about the now infamous ‘78 URLs’—73 of them about IIPM—that the DoT wanted Internet Service Licensees to block. Three of these 73 happened to be of blogs.outlookindia.com, the blogs section of Outlook website. One of these three was repeated and so, in effect, there were two of our URLs on this list.

It seemed they had already been blocked—we could not access them. Some of my colleagues mentioned that they had not been able to file new stories since 4 pm that day. The tech team that has run the website for over 13 years said they had never encountered something like this before. Then someone...

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