https://www.flickr.com/photos/arrano/2583867012/in/photolist-4WjZDf-5aSCo2-jK1qGt-6zUJuJ-8DNNHt-48tt9-4J8DCD-4J8A6v-4JcPGs-amamRU-iWzM4L-brcad8-bnZnhH-joVZUa-74khii-5snxBa-5aZhk8-pADg9e-4xG9eW-fLyQA8-78HuCF-9RYZvc-8EN6T9-beLGgV-e3Xq11-4f6GJ-iotsX-qBrWhi-4J8zy8-qUCDab-5prCky-gVcwCP-pZ2E9Z-e1vZk4-6wiAMq-5pnm2t-75rLY-5NEG7-5QgeW4-e6Qxtc-cvL2c7-cCU7a-8sDYQr-pRSp6N-3FjPcz-49yeGD-4uVQ7-7871Ua-r65Y9W-3uMSYS

Well, we saw this coming.

The ISP Association of India has sent a letter to the Indian government, saying that ISPs are “free not to disable any of the 857 URLs, as given in the list, which do not have child pornographic content”, is vague and un-implementable. Mint had also reported on the content of this letter yesterday.

While the ISPAI says that it is “totally against Online Child Pornography as well as Abuse on Women”, they will continue to block the 857 URLs because they do not have any control over the content on those websites, given that the “content owner can change the content any moment without any information to ISPs”, and ISPs have no mechanism to check the content.

As we’d mentioned earlier, the government of India hasn’t unblocked the content: it’s merely asked ISPs to decide whether they want to unblock it or not after checking if the sites have child porn or not. The ISPs, unwilling to take on the liability of checking for the content, have passed the buck back to the DoT. It was a ridiculous and ridiculously worded directive from the DoT anyway.

The letter the ISPs have sent to the DoT

Dear Sir,

This has reference to directive dated 31st July 2015 for disabling 857 URL’s and list given and subsequent directive dated 4.8.2015 stating “to communicate to all intermediaries (ISPs) that the intermediaries (ISPs) are hereby directed that they are free not to disable any of the 857 URLs, as given in the list, which do not have child pornographic content.”

We submit that direction given above is very vague and un-implementable, as ISPs have no way or mechanism to filter out Child pornographic from URLs and further unlimited sub links of the said URLs in different – different name. Sir, we are totally against Online Child Pornography as well as Abuse on Women.

We would continue to adhere to the practice of providing URLs to be blocked as per list provided by the Licensing Authority as per ISP and UL –Internet Service Chapter IX licensing condition clause 7.12 of UL License agreement on page no: 68 which reads as under: “In the interest of national security or public interest, the Licensee shall block Internet sites/Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)/ Uniform Resource Identifier (URIs) and/or individual subscribers, as identified and directed by the Licensor from time to time”.

We urge you to withdraw the said vague directive as it is not only confusing but also putting responsibility on ISPs of the website on which ISPs does not have any control. The site and content owner can change the content any moment without any information to ISPs. As such we will request to provide specific URLs to be blocked/disabled to all ISPs.

Sir, the ISPs don’t have mechanism to check the content, as the same is dynamic in nature, hence we request your good self to advise us immediately the further course of action in this regard. Till your further directive the ISPs are keeping said 857 URLs disabled. Looking forward for your immediate advise for necessary action.

Thanking you,
With Best Regards,
For Internet Service Providers Association of India

Photo credit: by Arrano, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0