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IT dept goofs up, shuts sites

Some lewd remarks made against Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil published on a website has led to blocking of hundreds of websites in India since August 9 causing inconvenience to lakhs of people. Satya Prakash reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2010 09:22 IST
Satya Prakash

Some lewd remarks made against Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil published on a website has led to blocking of hundreds of websites in India since August 9 causing inconvenience to lakhs of people.

This happened apparently due to wrong interpretation of a Mumbai court for blocking the offending website http://donotdial100.webs.com by the Department of Information Technology (DIT).

Instead of blocking particular website, the DIT blocked the IP address :- 216.52.115.50 that hosted the offending website, resulting into blocking of hundreds of other websites hosted by webs.com as well.

Though the order mentions technical details of the offending website including the IP address, it talks of blocking only http://donotdial100.webs.com and not the domain server of webs.com.

Several website owners and Jerry Weinberger Director, Service and Retention webs.com have written to the Mumbai Police Cyber Division and to the DIT for rectifying it but nothing has been done.

Director General, Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in the DIT Gulshan Rai said: "This is a judicial order and I have requested the Mumbai Police and the website users to approach the court and get an appropriate order."

Cyber Police Station of the Mumbai Police had registered a case against an unknown person, who allegedly published some "derogatory and lewd" contents on the erring site against Patil.

At the request of the Mumbai Police, V V Bambarde, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM), Esplande, Mumbai, on August 7 directed the CERT to block the website.

Noting that the remarks were not only lewd but also likely to create "unnecessary misunderstanding and embarrassing situation between the police Chief and Home Minister of Maharashtra", the ACMM had asked the department to block it with immediate effect.

But since the order also mentioned the I P address, the department also chose to block webs.com, an international hosting service provider for individuals, groups and organisations that are interested in building a website.

Asit S Sarkar, whose website has been blocked, said the DIT and Mumbai Police had different interpretations of the order leading to the stalemate.

Asked if the Mumbai Police have moved a superior court for modifying the ACMM's order, ACP (Cyber Division, Crime Branch, CID, Mumbai) Sanjay S Jadhav told HT: "We are taking necessary steps. It will be rectified soon."