HYDERABAD: As India completed its third anniversary of TRAI ruling in favour of net neutrality on February 8, a major complaint remains that selected internet sites are being blocked by Reliance Jio and Airtel, despite not being mandated by law. A crowdsourced list of such violations being compiled by Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) on net neutrality violations has many complaints from Hyderabadis against the two companies blocking not just porn sites (banned under the law), but also of many proxy websites and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Blocking of websites in such as way can be equated with undermining net neutrality principles, which basically means that internet service providers (ISP) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.
The crowdsourced list has till now seen over 140 complaints from all over India. A user from city, said, “Most web proxy websites are blocked which are the top listed results for Google search. I use proxies to visit sites which are too intrusive with ADs (advertisements). Proxies basically block java scripts so that when a user clicks anything, it doesn’t re-direct him to unwanted websites.”
Two other users from Hyderabad, both with Airtel connections, said that Telegram websites were being blocked by their ISP. “Telegram.org and the related sites are not working. Have not tried using vpn (sic),” one said. Telegram is an instant-messaging service akin to WhatsApp. In fact, IFF has said that reports suggest that blocking of proxy and VPNs were mainly concentrated for Jio.
The IFF said, “Users are generally not aware of the reasons for network interference with websites and internet services in India. There are no clear statements or information available on the reason which may emerge from any legal order that is made available to them.”