Nepal Government to play parent – 5 reasons it may not work

If you are one of those ‘spoiled kids’ who spend most of their online time visiting explicit websites, be prepared to learn about proxies. That is what Kantipur says:

Internet surfers will soon have to scale the telecom firewall to access p0rn sites in Nepal.

Nepal government is mulling over blocking sex related websites in an effort to reduce Nepali traffic on those sites.

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is working is preparing to censor websites through internet service providers (ISP) and telecom operators providing GPRS facility in Nepal.

NTA has been coordinating with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology and Cyber Cell of the Nepal Police and the preparation on the implementation is expected to be finalized within a week.

NTA spokesperson Kailash Prasad Neupane told that all 44 ISPs including three telecom service operators—Nepal Telecom, Spice Nepal and United Telecom—providing data and internet service will be asked to block such sites in Nepal.block-xxx

It is a proved fact that blocking something in otherwise free internet is, impossible. By the psych
ological point of view, people will be more attracted to such sites when they are banned. For example, banned music videos are the most watched videos in YouTube and banned books are most circulated ones in the world. Didn’t they learn from the mushrooming sex workers in spite of ban in prostitution in Nepal ?

The move, if implemented, will be a failure because:

  1. Proxies – although a general user may not know about it, cyber cafes and professionals know how to bypass such website bans. They will start providing such services for free or for a price. Cyber cafes, with proxies installed, will have a huge flow of customers. Using proxies is not that difficult these days.
  2. Catalogue preparation – Cataloguing the the massive inventories of such websites in itself will be a challenge for the government. Updating the catalogue to include thousands of new websites registered every day will be another challenge. The government needs a separate unit to deal with it.
  3. Complaints – There will be false alarms and complaints. The government need have experts in hand to address such issues.
  4. Corruption – Some websites can use their influence to ban their rival’s websites. Time taken to process complaints and unban the website would damage the website beyond repair.
  5. Back to stone age – There are easier and more effective ways to discourage people from visiting such sites. At the time when ICANN has recently (Feb 2010) approved xxx domains after multiple rejects previously, outright blocking p0rn sites is the worst possible thing to do.

The Nepal government’s move might however be beneficial for such websites. The $12 billion p0rn industry might be happy if Nepal government blocks them and the ban is properly implemented. Because, it would save them a little bandwidth from the most unproductive audience in the world. Visitors from Nepal don’t bring them any revenues as they only browse free sections and don’t pay for membership, and advertisers also detest Nepali audience.

I hope the government has done enough research and background checks before taking such decision.

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