Indian Government Blocks 857 Porn Sites

August 4, 2015
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Indian Government Blocks 857 Porn Sites

When you consider that the current population of India is approximately 1.3 billion, it’s probably safe to assume that a significant number of those people are prone to enjoy a little Internet porn here and there.

So, as you can imagine, that unknown-yet-surely-enormous demographic was not all that pleased to find out the Indian government has ordered most internet service providers — including Vodafone, MTNL, ACT, Hathway and BSNL — to block 857 websites that feature adult content.

On Saturday, people all over India started noticing they couldn’t access many of their favorite porn websites. By Sunday morning, the Reddit India conversation thread “Are porn sites getting blocked” had started to deal with the rumors, and the hashtag #PornBan was already a top Twitter trend. One Reddit user posted a screenshot of the homepage of a porn site that read: “Blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India.”

Most major adult sites — and many that aren’t even that big — are part of the massive list that leaked on Monday, featuring all 857 sites that were blocked “on grounds of morality and decency.”

“Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check,” N.N. Kaul, a spokesman at the department of telecommunications, told Reuters. “We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.”

The ban is allegedly aimed at protecting children from exposure to adult content. The department of telecommunications also stated that some users would still be able to access certain sites through a proxy server or virtual private networks.

The harsh ban came as a surprise, especially because just last month India’s Supreme Court had declined to pass an interim order to block pornographic websites in the country.

“Such interim orders cannot be passed by this court,” Chief Justice H.L. Dattu said at the time. “Somebody may come to the court and say, ‘Look I am above 18 and how can you stop me from watching it within the four walls of my room?’ It is a violation of Article 21 [right to personal liberty] of the constitution.”

The government clearly did not agree with Dattu; they went along and enforced it anyway. Kaul, however, mentioned they’re working on a long-term solution and the ban may not remain indefinitely.

Pornhub, one of the biggest porn sites in the world and part of the many banned ones, estimates that Indians are among the most prolific consumers of adult material, so it’s interesting to see what impact this has on the global consumption of porn.

There’s even a chance that internet service providers might take a financial hit, as well. Several Reddit users joked about it, but it’s not such a crazy idea: Would the same amount of people need unlimited data plans if the biggest chunk of what they’d use it for isn’t available anymore?

In the meantime, the always resourceful Indian population already has some temporary solutions at hand for the porn-starved.

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