Uploaded.net blocked again by BSNL and Airtel



File hosting and sharing website uploaded.net has been blocked again by several ISPs yet again, affecting business users that depend on the service to share latest build of its software with partners.

Update: The website seems to be blocked on Tata as well.

Earlier: As of now, the website is not accessible for BSNL and Airtel broadband customers. It was blocked in June last year and unblocked in October, but the reason why these websites were blocked and then removed from the list were never disclosed. While the website leads to a blank page for BSNL users, Airtel users are shown a message, ”This website/URL has been blocked until further notice either pursuant to Court orders or on the Directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications”. It needs to be noted that the homepage of the website loads occasionally on Airtel connections.

In a similar incident, review website Mouthshut.com was blocked by Bangalore-based ACT Internet and its subsidiary in Hyderabad Beam Fiber without stating any reason. The website was unblocked a week later, after it was reported in media. In that incident, Mouthshut.com CEO Faisal Farooqui had escalated the issue to TRAI and DoT and had threatened to take legal action if the ISPs doesn’t unblock them.

What happens when DoT blocks a URL?

Earlier, we had reported that mobile customization service app Zedge was blocked on certain Internet Service Providers and mobile operators in India as per instructions from the Department of Telecom. Zedge COO, Jonathan Reich, has informed Medianama that Zedge hired a local counsel in India to find more about the issue and it appears that there was no court orders to block the service. The counsel instead told him that sometimes John Doe orders are directly sent to the ISPs and that the ISPs block these sites as per the orders.

The last movie that we heard of to get a John Doe order was for Dhoom 3, after Madras High Court judgment placed the onus of prevention of copyright infringement on ISPs in November last year.

Ethics of blocking: Typically, when websites are blocked, the website owners are not informed about the block, the reasons why the site was blocked, or the process for removing the block. It’s all shrouded in secrecy, and is a significant business risk in the Internet industry in India: if your website gets blocked, what do you do, when you don’t even know who to contact?

We have written in the past about the procedure ISPs should follow while website blocking. To begin with, instead of just stating that the website is blocked, they should set up a special page through which websites can get in touch with ISPs to contest the block. Also, there needs to be more transparency on which court issued the ban, based on whose appeal and why this specific website was blocked. Such levels of transparency can help all parties involved to rectify such a situation in case a website is blocked by mistake. However, the current system doesn’t provide a clear idea of why a website is blocked, by whom, on whose order and why.
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