Computer security expert Ankit Fadia on ‘how to unblock everything on the Internet'

Ever since the Government talked about social network sites being subjected to censorship, there have been strong reactions from netizens and defenders of free speech.

The popularity of such sites is obvious looking at present statistics. According to estimates there are around 121 million Internet users in India. Probably by the end of the year, there will be more Internet users than television sets. According to Wearesocial.net, the average Indian net user spends three hours on social media and 70 per cent of them watch online videos. It is also estimated that there are about 21 million plus total Facebook users and 23 million YouTube viewers per month. YouTube is most likely going to become the largest viewed screen in India soon. The popularity and usage of the social networking sites, hence, can be gauged.

So, when Ankit Fadia computer security expert learnt about the possible blocking of certain websites, he decided to lend a helping hand to those opposed to such a move. His book, ‘How to unblock everything on the Internet' in English and Hindi has been published by Vikas Publishing House. The book allows readers to unblock everything on the Internet including Social Networking Sites (Facebook, Twitter etc), Video Streaming Sites (YouTube, Netcafe etc), chat, sporting websites, career websites, USB ports, download and speed limits and everything else.

Says the 26-year-old author, “The book has been written keeping in mind the non-technical users who will understand it through several screen shots that will help them unblock stepwise.”

The last section of the book also invites technically-savvy minds to suggest their ideas on how to un-block websites so that the book is updated fast with fast changing Internet technology. “These ideas would be printed with the name of the new authors. It will serve as a platform for those brilliants minds who cannot publish their own books,” Ankit says.

Ankit has been able to generate some curiosity and doubt with the subject of his book. He seems to be challenging the Government and even inviting it to ban his book. The young author being outside the system (he shuttles between the US, UK and Mumbai) seems to have been able to pen and sell the book openly in India. “It's not like that,” he justifies, “I have visa for the US but I am very much a part of India. I file my taxes here. My 90 per cent Internet courses run in India and I have just been awarded ‘The Global Ambassador for Cyber Security' by the Government. This award is a part of National Telecom Awards. From this February I will also train police personnel in Hyderabad's National Police Academy.”

He however, agrees that the Government might ban his book as it could prove to be a challenge to their move. “The Government might ban my book but I am not supporting illegal content on the Internet. I am just with public opinion. There are laws in place why don't they implement them? The Government is saying that it will block ‘offensive content', how will it define what and who is offensive? If, for instance I send someone an offensive message through my mobile, email, or a letter who will be responsible --the telecom operator, the internet service provider or the post office? Who will you ban?” .

It's not a great idea to shoot the messenger as he is not responsible for the content he delivers, Ankit opines. India being a democracy cannot employ 40, 000 people just to block websites like China has done. It should, in fact, create an Internet Regulatory Authority of India to which any illegal or offensive Internet content could be reported. The regulator should be empowered to take appropriate action. He suggests a combination of people from government, police, media, and industry as part of the panel, apart from youth which is the maximum user of social media. Well, the young cyber security expert who last November received the Global Shaper award from the World Economic Forum suggests that his book will even help corporates, companies, organisations and Governments to learn how users are unblocking stuff on the Internet. They can then use information given in the book to make their blocking mechanism even more powerful, he says.