The Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued a letter to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) asking them to block the URLs of four websites including Uber, Olacabs, TaxiForSure and angelbroking.com without citing any reason for the move.
DoT ordered blocking the websites under the powers conferred to it by Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 and Information Technology (Procedures and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009. The notice further says that in case the ISPs fail to block the sites, the government will initiate action against them under Section 12 of the IT Act, as reported by ET.
However, despite the ban notice being issued, people are still able to access the services of these operators. ISPs are unable to block the websites due to technical issues.
“We can only block http sites and not the https sites as the latter have higher encryption codes. Uber and Ola are https sites, but TaxiForSure could be blocked as it is an http site,” said Rajesh Chharia, the president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI). Further adding he said, “We have repeatedly communicated to the telecom department that sites with high encryption codes cannot be blocked by us.”
An IT ministry official said that the ban was issued to comply with the request of the Delhi Government, which had called for the ban of these websites as they did not adhere to the laws of the land. This holds reference to the notices, the transport ministry had earlier issued to the cab providers to comply with the laid down rules but was later revoked. In December 2014, DoT had issued a notice to the Internet Service Providers to block a total of 32 miscellaneous websites in their networks including Vimeo, Dailymotion and Github. The notice did not mention any reason. Now the question that arises is that ‘is this case justified?’