Possible Porn Ban Has India Seeking Answers — And Torrents

The government of India has made no official announcement regarding a porn ban, but the people are speaking out after many woke Sunday morning to learn that they couldn’t access some of their favorite sites. While persistent users report finding exceptions, it appears that most major porn sites have been blocked across the country — and people believe the government may be to blame.

According to the Hindu, the Supreme Court of India responded to debate about a porn ban early in July, declaring it a matter of personal liberty and saying that a person could not be prevented from watching porn in the privacy of his own home.

However, the court wasn’t ruling on whether such a ban could exist — only on whether the court itself could place a temporary ban while the government discussed whether to establish one itself. The Chief Justice went on to say that the matter was serious and that “some steps” must be taken — and to order the government to respond within four weeks.

With less than a week remaining until that deadline, it appears the Indian government may have responded — by implementing a ban that prevents most porn sites from being accessed through Indian ISPs. Users report getting error messages when they attempt to access porn sites — or rather, most report that they’ve heard a friend of a friend had that problem.

According to the Tribune, the error messages read, “This site has been blocked per the Instruction of Competent Authority.”

Legally India says that a senior manager of one ISP, on condition of anonymity, has confirmed to them that the ban is indeed government-ordered, and that it extends to 857 porn sites.

On Twitter, the hashtag #pornban has grown to a fever pitch as citizens speak out. The response is varied, with many users offering to sell or share their own downloaded collections of porn videos and images, and a few making jokes about the ban. Most, however, seem outraged to one degree or another.

A few have even expressed fear that the porn ban could raise the risk of violent sex crimes. (This has been roundly debated — Science Daily has one such study.)

So far, the Indian government has not acknowledged, much less taken credit, for the porn ban, but the public is calling for answers.

[Photo by Michael Smith/Getty Images]