The government of India is no stranger to slicing off access to sites for its nationals as and when it sees fit, and to do such without informing clients. While it’s already deterred access to porn websites, GitHub and WordPress.com. Its most recent shenanigan is maybe the most gruesome act to date: hindering access to the Internet Archive.
Otherwise called the Wayback Machine, this significant asset has been around for two decades and hosts an accessible trove of more than 300 billion site pages, including those that are never again accessible at their last-known locations.
The block appears to affect only certain ISPs at present, including Airtel in New Delhi and Bangalore and a bunch of others across the country. The accompanying message is shown when you endeavor to visit the site:
Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. Please contact the administrator for more information.
Not surprisingly, the government hasn’t issued any public notification yet; expressing a purpose behind the impediment or distributed the blocking request, thus leaving most of the internet users in the dark. In past events, these requests have just been circled among ISPs.
While it’s difficult to make sure why the Wayback Machine has been blocked, Medianama noticed that the site is one of the main approaches to receive reports distributed and now brought around the Unique Identification Authority of India. The office is in charge of building and executing the Aadhaar native ID program, which has been condemned for its permeable security and information sharing conventions.
It’s conceivable that the piece is a push to avert web clients in the nation from surveying these archives, including one that rundowns various privately-owned businesses entrusted with seeding and confirming Aadhaar information. It may likewise be the consequence of a court order that has nothing to do with oversight – yet now, there’s no real way to know for certain.
It’s one thing to put an end to an online resource to unrest or averting the spread of information throughout the country; it’s much more disturbing as the government won’t explain the reason behind its decision to do so.
The Internet Archive said it had not been reached by the Indian government either, nor had it gotten a reaction to a question concerning why its website was blocked.