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India bans 827 porn sites including ThePornDude

Rape incidences, especially against young girls have been on the rise in India. The latest is the gang rape that occurred in Dehradun where the perpetrators were allegedly influenced by porn sites. The government of India has resorted to going tough on porn sites as critics claimed porn was encouraging rape as it flourished unabated.

The High Court of Uttarakhand imposed a banning sweep that will ban people from accessing a whopping 827 websites including theporndude.com. Following the directive from the high court, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) shared: “… all the internet service licensees are instructed to take immediate necessary action for blocking of 827 websites as per the direction from Meity and for the compliance of the Hon’ble High Court order.”

The ban comes after Nobel laureate and prominent Indian rights activist Kailash Satyarthi called for strong legislation that would crackdown online child pornography amid concerns that it encourages sexual abuse offenses. He cited the example of the 12-year-old boy and his friends who had watched a porn movie the night before they gang raped his sister.

India has a long history of sexual violence against women and children. The high-profile case of a 23-year-old student who died after being gang-raped in a bus in New Delhi brought the issue to international attention where the four defendants were found guilty of rape and murder and were all handed death sentences. Many other such incidences have occurred, some leading to thousands-strong protests decrying sexual attacks and the government’s seemingly non-committal attitude towards such crimes.

The initial court order banned 857 websites, but after inspection, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) established that 30 of them didn’t contain pornographic content and were promptly removed from the list. Ironically, the country had made a similar ban in 2015 but to no effect, after the government was forced to withdraw the ban after a week following criticism in the social media accusing the government of moral policing. It’s not immediately clear whether the ban will stick this time around. Some of the banned porn sites include xvideos.com, pornhub.com, playboy.com, youporn.com, pinkythekinky.com, theporndude.com among many others.

There are no definitive laws against pornographic content in the country. As a matter of fact, consuming porn in private is not considered a crime, but storing or publishing images of child sexual abuse is a crime punishable by law. One of the biggest networks carriers, Reliance Jio, has already banned the listed websites making them inaccessible to many internet users. Such a move doesn’t usually achieve anything other than making porn sites more difficult to access, but not impossible for smart users who can simply use VPNs to access the banned porn sites. It is to be remembered that India is not the only country to come down hard on porn. The Nepal government banned porn in the country a few weeks ago with Uganda attempting to ban adult content as well.

Criticism

As you would expect, cyber experts have slammed the move by the government to play Net Nanny, arguing that it doesn’t hold any legal sanction as there are no laws in the country that prohibits porn. While many agree that strict action is required to ban child pornography, they argue that such a blanket ban on porn sites doesn’t have merit.

There is no law in the country which makes watching pornography an offense,” said

cyber law expert Pawan Duggal, adding that vague bans to tackle child abuse do not offer a practical solution.

As a matter of fact, a blanket ban is not a very effective mechanism. It is self-defeating and tends to generate more traffic to the blocked websites who many-a-times come up with new URLs and change their servers,” he said.

Pornhub to the rescue

While the move has apparently made people furious, giant porn site Pornhub has come up with an ingenious way to sidestep the ban; developing a mirror site. The site has created a new domain- pornhub.net – specifically for Indian people who want to access adult content. A tweet from Pornhub’s official twitter handle read; ‘In response to Pornhub getting censored and blocked in India, our fans there can now fully access the site at Pornhub.net.’

Apparently, the site was not prepared to lose such a huge source of traffic. According to PornHub’s 2017 annual review, India is the third largest country to create traffic on the website.

There are no laws against pornography in India and watching adult content privately,” said the Vice President of PornHub, Corey Price. “It’s evident that the Indian government does not have a solution to a very serious and systemic problem in the country, and is using adult sites like ours as a scapegoat… For the government to ban sites like ours that have compliant parental controls, a non-consensual takedown page, and strict terms of service is a disservice to the people of India, who have become one of the largest connoisseurs of adult content.”

Finally

I have a feeling that Corey Price is hardly the only one who hopes the Indian government fails in its hilarious attempt to ban porn in the country.

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