The government has begun the process of unblocking many of the 32 websites including Weebly, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Github and others that were blocked last month, following assurances given by their owners that no anti-social and anti-national content would be posted on their sites.
Defending strongly the action taken to block the sites, which were found to be violating Indian laws, a top communications ministry official dealing with the case told HT: “The action was not aimed at curtailing personal freedom…but safeguarding national integrity. Many of the websites have appreciated our mails asking them for explanation, before blocking them.”
The government believes in freedom of the internet and does not regulate content, he added. Such a blocking did not impact personal liberties of any one on free speech. “As such these websites were not conventional social media sites for interaction of speech/chat in general,” the official said.
Majority of the websites would be unblocked by Monday, a ministry source said.
However, around 15 websites were found to be privacy protected, which means the name of the owner/registrant and details are not displayed publicly. Godaddy and Enom are the registrars for domain registration for most of the sites. “These registrars, in the the past did not entertain the Centre’s request to share the information covered under privacy restrictions,” the official said.
The government last Wednesday blocked the sites, responding to a Mumbai court order on the ground that they were being used to host extremist Islamic propaganda by jihadi groups, but backtracked on some after the sites responded to government queries which they had not done earlier.
The blockade sparked criticism and outrage by free speech advocates on social media sites such as Twitter.
Working in tandem with the Additional Metropolitan Magistrate, Mumbai, the Department of Information and Technology and the Anti-Terrorism Squad had sent a show-cause notice in November to these sites for allowing anti-national text, pictures and videos to be posted on their sites.