Indian Internet service providers (ISPs) blocked access to the popular Internet Archive after a Madras high court order listed it among 2,650 websites, including file-sharing ones, that it wanted blocked, the BBC reported on Wednesday. Mint has not seen a copy of the court orders.
The BBC said the court had been petitioned by the makers of the movies Lipstick under my Burkha and Jab Harry met Sejal, two recent Bollywood releases, who wanted the court to restrict access to websites that were allegedly hosting pirated copies of the films.
The fact that the Internet Archive had been blocked first came to light on Tuesday. By Wednesday, speculation was rife that the government had restricted access to it. Interestingly, the most popular aspect of the archive is the Wayback Machine, a utility that allows users to see older versions of the same website. The Wayback Machine is popular with fact checkers and researchers.
This isn’t the first time users in India have been restricted from accessing the Internet Archive. In late 2014, the government blocked access to it, and several other websites on fears they were hosting anti-India propaganda by the ISIS; access was restored in early 2015.