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Blogs blocked in response to terror attacks

Troubling news from India, where ISPs have cut off access to a number of weblogs, following orders from the government.

In India, internet sites that are considered to promote violence and terrorism can be blocked in this way under the terms of the Information Technology Act, and while the instructions sent out to ISPs did not stipulate the reasons for the sites being blocked, it is thought the matter is related to the recent Mumbai train bombings, in which almost 200 people lost their lives. The country's intelligence agencies reportedly suspected that the sites were being used by terrorists to communicate with each another.

So far, so sensible, you may say. But the twist to the tale is that several of the ISPs, technologically unable to block only the specific sites named by the government order, have closed access to entire swathes of the blogosphere. Hence the geek ire expressed, among other places, on the BloggersCollective Google group. We particularly like the Rant section ("please channel all your outrage into this thread").

It's easy to ridicule the self-importance of the world's bloggists – the well-adjusted PC Advisor blog excluded, naturally – but the nerds may have a point. What next? Banning MySpace because terrorists may use it to meet friends and share music recommendations? (Stretching the analogy somewhat, one splendidly vociferous poster on this site suggested turning off the water supply as it has been reported that terrorists use water to live.)

It's the thin end of the wedge, my friends. Thin end of the wedge.

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