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Updated: Indian Government Blocks Typepad, Mobango, Clickatell; Screenshots

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Updated below with responses from Mobango, links to a strange statement from Airtel, previous reports of blocks and a new instance of a site called Zone-H being blocked for apparently pointing out falsification of information by a Hyberabad based company.

Earlier today: It’s like 2006 all over again, and the forums and mailing lists are abuzz with this; we’ve got a few emails as well. Some ISPs in India appear to have begun blocking access to certain sites, including blogging site TypePad, bulk SMS site ClickATell.com, Mauj Telecom owned mobile apps site Mobango. I’m able to access Typepad from my MTNL connection.


Karthik Sridhar from VisualData* sends us the following screenshot for Clickatell:

Here’s a screenshot that Tarun Dua, who has an Airtel connection, sent to MediaNama:


Vikram Phukan sent us a screenshot of the error page while trying to access his Typepad dashboard.

We tried accessing the sites from our Airtel Edge and 3G enabled handset and got the same error.

On the India Gii mailing list, Dua wrote that “Looks like they are using a transparent proxy to deny access to sites based on host header.” He had previously posted on the India gii mailing about a similar issue while accessing ClickATell.com, a bulk SMS provider, again on Airtel DSL.

We’ve written to Airtel as well as Mobango.com for a clarification on the government ordered blocking of these sites, as well as Gulshan Rai, head of CERT-in, the government agency responsible for blocking.

Hate say ‘we told you so’, but do read: How The Indian Government Plans To Regulate Online Content & Blogs

How you can help

In the comments, please let us know if you’re able to access the following sites. Mention your ISP and time of access for each site:

Blogspot.com (India Broadband Forum mentions it was inaccessible via a few ISPs a few days ago)

We’re also trying to find out who to get in touch with at ISPs.

Update: so the way the sites were blocked in 2006 was: in the first few days, only a few ISPs blocked access to blogs, and over the period of a week, it gathered momentum, and access was blocked across ISPs. We understand that some of you may be able to access these sites, but the screenshots below don’t lie. For us, this is a freedom of speech (and freedom of access) issue: How can the Indian government decide what you and I choose to view online?

Update: Mobango responds, says it could be an ‘oversight’ or a technical error. Looks like they’re playing it safe – the screenshots suggest otherwise.Their response in full:

“Mobango is a large global appstore with nearly 1 million downloads of apps and games daily. Of these downloads about 20 per cent are from India and growing. We have not heard of any customer complaints directly but are told that the site is facing access issues from a few ISPs on the web. It is possible that this is due to some technical error. Mobango is one amongst several Indian and global app stores, which are all accessible from India so we don’t really see any reason for the site to be blocked unless it has been an oversight on the part of DOT. We are working with ISPs and authorities to address any inadvertent issues.”

Update: So what your comments suggest is that the ban appears to have been implemented sporadically by multiple ISPs: Airtel, BSNL, MTNL and Reliance (Netconnect), depending on geography. While most ISPs are just not providing access to the sites, at least Airtel, Reliance Netconnect (in Coimbatore) and Fivenet Broadband (in Mumbai) have been transparent enough to disclose that they’ve blocked due to a DOT order.

Our stand on this is that the government has no business blocking access to the Internet without a proper judicial process. In any case, when a block is instituted, it needs to maintain a list of blocked sites, and give reasons for the block. It can’t be ad-hoc, and it can’t be opaque.

Update: At least on Airtel GPRS, Typepad and Mobango are now accessible, though clickatell now returns the message “web connection timed out”, with no notification. Let us know if you’ve noticed any changes with your ISPs.

Update (5th March): In a bizarre (and hard to believe twist), an unnamed Airtel spokesperson tells the Hindu that there was no directive from the government, and this was “just a temporary network problem”. Time to file an RTI to get the truth out. Note that Airtel still hasn’t responded to our email for a clarification on the block.

Update: Appears that this wasn’t a minor blip over a short period of time:
– Tech2 wrote about a blogspot blackout on Feb 12th.
– CuttingtheChai wrote about Kirtu.com, where the not-safe-for-work comic Savita Bhabhi was hosted, Mobango, Typepad and Clickatell being blocked on Feb 22nd.
– Kafila reports, and this is something that we’ve also been told about as well, that Zone-H.org has been blocked as well. This is strange, but there is a suggestion that a company called E2 Labs got Zone-H blocked, because they did a post criticizing E2’s proposal to start a cyber security educational institution, alleging that there was falsification of information. A pdf of the post here, via Naavi.org. Again, we need clarity on why these blocks have been ordered. Also read Apar Gupta’s post
the utilitarian critique of E2 Labs v. Zone-H

*Disclosure: VisualData is a MediaNama Partner. They power MediaNama Charts

Also read: How India’s Draft Cybercafe Rules Could Strangle Public Internet Access

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  • Am able to access Typepad. But not Mobango and Clickatell directly. But via an external VPN.

  • @nixxin My ISP is BSNL in Bangalore and I am able to access Typepad and Blogpost but not Mobango & Clickatell, though I do not get any messages for that. So cannot confirm if they have been blocked or its just BSNL’s crappy DNS issues.

  • mobango and clickatell blocked from BSNL Bangalore.

  • Nadeem

    I was able to access all those sites from my office connection (Tata Indicom).

  • Reliance Netconnect in Coimbatore. Can access Typepad and Blogger. Mobango is blocked with “This site has been blocked as per instructions from Department of Telecom (DOT).” Clickatell doesn’t load and no message,

  • Charudu

    Typepad cannot be accessed on MTNL mumbai

  • Strange, my office has Airtel line (that’s what tracert suggests) and I am able to open Typepad from office. Need to check from home Airtel DSL line.

  • All the 3 website are working for me on my BSNL connection.

  • Vivek

    Barring clickatell.com I can access all the other sites from my home MTNL cconnection..

  • Yep, unable to open either of the three mentioned.
    Airtel connection in office — will check from home too (although that is airtel too)
    Blogger is opening fine.

  • Aish 4 Abhi

    mobango and clickatell blocked from BSNL Rajasthan (Bhilwara)

  • Tarun Dua

    Its hard to confirm if it is really the GOI requesting the blocking of sites despite what the ISPs say unless CERT-IN creates a page and mentions all block orders passed by it from now onwards along with the reason. Unless these are made transparent these block orders can’t be contested.
    -Tarun Dua

  • Roshanonline

    all the sites are working fine..BSNL is my ISP

  • Roshanonline

    all the sites are working fine..BSNL is my ISP

  • I can access all the sites. Using BSNL with primary dns

  • Inkognito

    All of them are accessible on Hathway

  • I can access all the sites..My ISP is Amtron in guwahati, assam.

  • Can’t access the listed websites, except for Blogspot and Mobango (which redirects to http://in.mobango.com)

  • Cannot access typepad or clickatell on Airtel Boradband Home connection.

  • Kanti


    The interesting bit of information is something to do about your right to access control.The govt. of the day would decide what is good for the public and then put the rules in place.In situations like Egypt and Libya , the freedom of expression is also compromised.

    The recent talk for FreedomBox seems to be a viable alternative for these issues.The technical structure is much upto debate , but the need is there.


    Vision Statement

    We live in a world where our use of the network is mediated by organizations that often do not have our best interests at heart. By building software that does not rely on a central service, we can regain control and privacy. By keeping our data in our homes, we gain useful legal protections over it. By giving back power to the users over their networks and machines, we are returning the Internet to its intended peer-to-peer architecture.

    In order to bring about the new network order, it is paramount that it is easy to convert to it. The hardware it runs on must be cheap. The software it runs on must be easy to install and administrate by anybody. It must be easy to transition from existing services.

    There are a number of projects working to realize a future of distributed services; we aim to bring them all together in a convenient package.


  • Ajay Rohera

    sites like mobango gets more than 90% of traffic from mobile phone and DoT has only banned web site and not the WAP site so it’s hardly matter and very funny on DoT’s part. – Ajay Rohera

  • anon

    All 4 sites are accessible from Tata Indicom Broadband

  • I can access to mobango.com.

  • Anonymous

    I just checked this out.

    Typepad and Clickatell display this notice:
    This site has been blocked as per request from Department Of Telecom

    Whereas Mobango showed me the notice, but almost immediately switched over and redirected me to their new URL – http://in.mobango.com

  • Babu

    I can access both typepad and clickatell but mobango isnt accessible
    I use bsnl

  • I’m able to access all the sites (You Broadband, Bombay).

  • Tootbute

    Airtel user from Bangalore here.. Typepad and Clickatell are not working – they show up with 404 errors. Airtel had blocked blogspot a while ago, but I was able to blog post via email..

  • guest

    I have an airtel connection at home and bsnl/mtnl (i forget which) at work – been able to access blogger/blogspot everyday the last few days with no issues at all.

    the other 3 sites you’ve linked here though, cant open any of them. oh, Im based in Delhi if that helps.

  • Via a comment I received on Facebook: “Mobango works. Typepad and Clickatell dont. However, clickatell is reachable by IP – . Typepad will be too but its a product hosted on a company server. So need to know the folder name to make it work via IP address.

    Its most probably a DNS server/backbone issue. Indian government doesn’t even know about these sites. They are giving government too much credit”

  • Suresh Pillai

    Don’t think the Blogger/ Blogspot issue is connected. Their support forum had a conversation thread running for a couple of days about the issue being reported across ISPs in India.

  • Everything looks good from my connection – MTNL Mumbai. Surely a sarkari thing would begin with a sarkari connection?

    In any case, the whole idea of banning something is redundant in this age of proxies. All they achieve is to get users furious. They go along this route, and Tor is going to become a household name – like colgate or xerox

  • Ajay S

    One BSNL in Bangalore. Able to access all sites. Could this be because i’m using a third party DNS Server to resolve domain names?

  • I see a pattern . 2 of the sites in this list of 3 are direct substitutes to “VAS” product of Telcos or Mobile content service orgs . Hence, telcos could have played to ban these sites.
    Moban go serves pirated content and loads of Indian stuff. Clickatell is a bulk sms service.

  • gu

    use bsnl…can acess typepad but not mobango and clickatell

  • Poonamsharma11

    In Pune, using local broadband player, I can open both Blogger and Typepad but I can not open Mobango.com
    and Clickatell.com. The error I see for both sites is same: ‘This site has been blocked as per instructions from Department of Telecom (DOT) .’

    What I do not understand is why are they being blocked? Certainly government need to provide us with a reason. Looking at the comments, I am also curious why different people can see different web sites? Staggered blocking?

  • Manchanda_17

    Hi Nikhil!

    what is the exact reason of blocking all these websites.All the three websites is of different nature 1. Bulk Sms. 2. Mobile App. 3. Blogs


    • medianama

      no idea. we’ll try and find out

  • Tarun Dua

    http://typepad.com/ works once more on my Airtel DSL.

    Interestingly clickatell.com returns a 404 which suspiciously comes
    from the same Xitami server as the earlier DoT message.

    Server Xitami
    Content-Length 29
    Content-Type text/html; charset=UTF-8

    http://mobango.com/ opens up just fine too.

    returns the same :-
    Response Headersview source
    Server Xitami
    Content-Length 29
    Content-Type text/html; charset=UTF-8

    So the ISPs have decided to just return an innocuous sounding 404
    instead of the earlier message about DoT.

  • oh I was trying Seth Godin site, which is based on TYPEPAD, it says google chrome couldnt connect. I use AIRTEL boradband. happening since last 4 days!

  • nalbyuites

    On a Tata Indicom wimax connection here in Bangalore, I am able to access all of the above mentioned sites.

  • I am from Mumbai . I am able to open Typepad , Mobango.com and Blogspot. Clickatell.com is not opening .

  • I can access all the above sites from BSNL broadband connection.

  • Ed

    Glad I found this. I haven’t been able to connect to any typepad sites for at least a month, simply getting the “connection timed out” message instead of any exciting “blocked” message. I tried clearing cookies, cache, flushing DNS, and nothing worked on both IE and Firefox. I’m using a proxy now to see the sites, but it sucks not to have normal access, and apparently for no good reason. By the way, I’m using Airtel in Delhi.