This is the image of the so-called directive from the Indian government ordering a ban on some websites (from Sepia Mutiny).
The process by which the blocking and unblocking of sites have occurred in the past two days bears scrutiny. The order on the left seems to have been signed by a Asst. Dir General of the LR cell of the Department of Telecom. That, a lowly bureaucrat had the gall to send a directive to major ISPs is amazing. What was his locus standi in this matter? Why did he not give an explanation in his letter? What is the position of Indian law on these matters?
More importantly, why did the ISPs act so hastily on receiving this order? Didn't they even consider, for a minute, the consequences of their actions in inhibiting freedom of speech, in actively participating as state-sponsored machinery in curtailing the freedom of expression? Did they even consider taking a legal opinion on this important issue? Did they even suggest to the powers that be that there needs to be a public debate before such blanket bans are enforced.
The role of ISPs in transgressing some of the basic elements of the Indian constitution is worrying, if not downright frightening. Do the very same ISPs and telecom service providers provide website-traffic data, telephone-call data, and details of other private transactions to nameless government bureaucrats on merely being asked to do so?
Be afraid. Very afraid.