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Porn Banned In India

So now apparently porn is banned in India. I tell you, India has the most random and arbitrary rules when it comes to censorship and blocking content on the Internet. I remember back in December 2014 India tried censoring a whole bunch of websites that included Github, Vimeo, Daily Motion and other legitimate websites. In fact if you look at the Wikipedia page, it really shows you how Internet censorship works on the whims and fancies of the Indian Government. Bonus: IBN has a pretty cool timeline of Internet Censorship in India on its website.

This time around, the Government has gone ahead and blocked 857 websites, the largest censorship of its kind so far. So much for free India. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are so many ways to regain your Internet freedom and overcome all this nonsensical censorship.

How to Unblock Content / Websites

Change your DNS servers

A lot of this website blocking happens on the DNS level. What does that mean? The DNS is like the Internet’s phone book, it translates IP addresses into domain names that you and I use to refer to websites. Computers talk to each other in IP addresses whereas human talk to each other with domain names. For example, the IP address of airtel.in is 125.19.135.93. By default, when you ask for a website (www.airtel.in) that request goes to your ISPs DNS server, which in turn tells you where the website is located (125.19.135.93). You can basically access Airtel’s site either with its domain name or IP address, go ahead try it out.

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So what essentially DNS blocking is that your ISP blocks these IP addresses on its DNS servers (i.e. does not tell your computer how to reach them). But the beauty of the Internet is that there are tons of DNS servers that you can use for free, here check out this list. All you need to do is tell your computer or smartphone not to use your ISP’s DNS servers, but use Google’s or OpenDNS’s servers. And voila, bye bye Internet censorship!

I used Google’s DNS servers back in India. They’re fast, reliable and easy to remember (8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4). You can change the DNS server on your computer, phone or router to achieve the desired effect.

Here’s a multi-platform tutorial from Google on how to change your DNS settings.

Invest In A VPN

Now I know Indians are cheap and jugadoo, but seriously it’s one of things worth investing in a little. Why?

  1. For starters, internet censorship does not apply when you use a VPN. Nope, no censorship at all.
  2. Complete anonymity – you can do whatever you want on the Internet and no one will ever find out it was you 😉
  3. And finally, the reason I’ve been using a VPN for over a year is to unblock geo-restricted content. Yes, I love my Netflix and the only way that I can access it anywhere in the world is by using a VPN. I know it’s hard to preach to a bunch of people who can’t think beyond torrents, but I have come to love the convenience of Netflix. And now thanks to a VPN, I can watch cricket on Star Sports wherever in the world I am for free in HD (in case you didn’t know, Star Sports is only free online if you’re based in India).
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There are plenty of VPN providers out there, so do your research and pick one.

FYI, Do Not Use A Free Proxy

Seriously, I know how everybody thinks of free proxies in India. It’s tempting I know. I had guys sitting next to me in office using free proxies to bypass the office web-filter to access Facebook at work.

Please do not use them for your own safety. They are sketchy and at best will inject some script into your browsers. If you don’t believe me, here check out this study.

Like I said – whims and fancies of the Government. Today it’s porn, tomorrow it’ll be no more net neutrality. Somehow these bans in India are always a knee-jerk reaction – ban Uber, ban nightlife!

Anyway, whatever comes next, remember the Internet belongs to you, fight for net neutrality, fight against censorship…keep the Internet free!

Update: Looks like the Indian government came to its senses and partially lifted the ban. Clearly with MPs who enjoy watching porn in the parliament, this ban seemed slightly hypocritical.

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