India banned more than 800 porn sites last week — but people have already found a way around it

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  • The Indian government directed the country’s Internet Service Providers to ban 827 porn sites last week.
  • While the ban has already been implemented on Jio’s network, most sites are still accessible through Chinese mobile Internet company UCWeb’s UC Browser.
  • Popular porn site Pornhub has even launched an altered URL so that Indian users can still access its catalogue.
India is attempting to crack down on porn yet again — but to no avail.

The country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) ordered all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement a ban against 827 porn websites on October 27, 2018.

But, while cellphone provider Jio may have already implemented the ban with Airtel and Vodafone hot on its heels, people have already found ways around it.

Specifically, people are being able to use Alibaba’s UC Browser to open porn sites on the Jio network. UC Browser is the same app that was under the lens for leaking Indian user data last year.

UC Browser is the second most used web browser in India after Google Chrome, according to Stat-Counter’s data, with a market share of more than 32%.

Further, even Pornhub, one of most popular portals for watching porn according to Alexa’s most visited IPs in India, launched an altered URL so that its Indian users could still have access to the site.



There are a number of other workarounds as well. People can use a bunch of proxy websites like Anonymouse to circumvent the ban.

Not the first time

Porn websites are the some of the most trafficked in the world, and India is the world’s third largest porn-watching natio

This is not the first time that the Indian government has attempted to take on internet porn. It tried to ban porn sites for the first time in November 2014. But rather than being limited to some 800 websites, it was a blanket ban on porn, with the government attempting to take on 40 million porn websites globally.

The current ban was filed in 2015 with 857 porn sites on the roster. But, it had to lifted in under a week.

The reason was simple: The bulk of online traffic in India is driven by porn websites, and the ban was harming telecom operators. In fact, porn drives as much as 70% of India’s website traffic, according to sources speaking to LiveMint.

Ahead of the 2019 Indian general elections, the government is taking a risky stance on the freedom of communication. The last time around, it was forced to not only lift the ban, but also come out against censorship.

For many Indians, this move by government is another in a long line of intolerant directives with the government cracking down on their freedom of expression.
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