ACTBangalore-based ACT Broadband is blocking torrent websites without a court order according to a post at BroadbandForum.

Update: The sites don’t seem to be banned anymore.

As of now websites such as KickAssTorrents and PirateBay seems to be blocked on ACT and its sister concern Beam Internet. This is not the first time the company has blocked websites without a court order. It had recently blocked review website MouthShut without stating a reason. In that case, however MouthShut had escalated the issue to TRAI and DoT, following which the block was removed.

What is not clear is if these blocks are the result of a John Doe order issued ahead of the release of some movie, but that remains a possibility. That was suspected to be the reason for the blocking of cinema website by the same ISPs.

Ethics of blocking: We have written in the past about how ISPs should approach 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 way system works now no one has a clear idea of why a website is blocked, by whom, on whose order and why.

Torrents and piracy: While there will be a lot of people who will argue that a lot of open source software including Linux builds are distributed via this protocol, there is no denying that it is used mostly for downloading pirated content either due to region licensing issues or the ability for users might want to watch show at a time of their choosing. Even then, ISPs cannot and should not be allowed to block websites without a court order.

Also read:

MouthShut Challenges IT Rules In The Supreme Court Of India

Consumer Complaints Site RipoffReport Blocked In India

Bizarre: India’s Department of Telecom Blocks Wedding Album On Facebook

DoT Issues Orders To Block 78 URLs; 73 URLs With IIPM Content

Blocks On Zedge.Net, RipoffReport & Many Image Hosting Sites Removed