Ban on pornographic sites may turn a tricky affair

Updated - March 29, 2016 01:06 pm IST

Published - August 04, 2015 12:00 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

: On Friday last, Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Kerala received a lengthy black list of online pornographic websites that the Union government wanted to ban immediately.

The government’s inventory of 857 websites offering pornographic content ran into 17 pages.

The network operating centres of the ISPs in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram went into overdrive to implement the order. The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) officials monitored the process.

The head of a broadband service provider in the capital, who sought anonymity, said there has been a perceptible drop in Internet traffic since the ban.

He said it was, arguably, an indicator of the accepted enthusiasm for online pornography in Kerala, a State which has the highest Internet and mobile phone penetration in the country.

He said ISP providers were worried that the ban would adversely impact their revenues in the long run.

“Downloads and video streaming has hit a low since July 1, particularly night traffic on the Internet,” he said.

A senior cyber crime investigator said banning online pornography would be tricky. He listed several proxy websites and virtual private networks that let users skirt the online censorship easily.

Software tools, including mobile and computer applications, to evade the censorship were freely available for download.

Moreover, the ban censorship has not targeted peer-to-peer file-sharing websites running on bit-torrent protocol.

He said the economic costs of blocking these websites would also be high in the long run.

Moreover, it could trigger a situation where pornographic videos would once again emerge as a premium product in the State’s huge market for pirated videos. It would be an impossible task for the police to stop its dissemination through laptops, flash drives and mobile phones with multi-media messaging applications.

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