Urban Dictionary website Banned in Nepal

It is a really surprising move by Nepal government – to ban websites in order to “reduce crime.” According to a latest report, educational sites are being banned under the directive of Nepal Government. One of the most surprising ban is the blockage of a dictionary site:

(photo credit – @l0stanzel)

According to an English Daily, ‘The Kathmandu Post’ article, banning sites is a desperate attempt of the government after its, “failure to provide justice to 13-year-old Nirmala Pant despite such social outcry, this banning of porn is merely a liar’s paradox.”

It says, “the blame on pornography instead of accepting its own incompetence and the failure of its justice system is only a veil the government is using to not address many severe underling issues.” (Kathmandu post)

The article says, “Similarly, various studies done among diverse human civilisations has failed to find any precise correlation between digital erotic content and real world sexual violence against women. As the argument goes, much research evidence has revealed that porn actually functions as a ‘safety valve’ for otherwise violent instinct.”

This is not the fist time Nepal government had tried banning websites. In 2010 I did an analysis of sites blocked in Nepal: (read the report)

At that time sites like Huffington post and Blogspot blogs were blocked in Nepal. I had argued at that time that the banning won’t work for some 5 different reasons (read the 5 reasons).

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Voip and Internet Banda – is it a new banda trend?

This is absurd ! Both Internet outage and government action against ISPs are absolutely unnecessary.

Let me first talk about call by-pass:

I have told before – call by-pass is not a problem at all. The government blocked some VOIP websites. But, it couldn’t do anything to Google when it introduced free call to US and Canada.

Now, why is the police against some ISPs accusing them of using their services to call by-pass?

If it is cheaper to call Nepal due to illegal call bypass, why is it bad?
Because it hurts the profit of large voice operators in Nepal and robs the government of resulting tax revenue.

If the large voice operators can’t keep up with the new technology – why should the government protect them?

The telecom operators should embrace internet and VOIP as new technology and find new revenue avenues in them instead of trying to stop them from coming in.

Next, why are ISPs punishing their own customers for government action?

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Americans block internet too; Julian Assange featured in TIME cover

If you were in the illusion that internet is only blocked in countries like China or Nepal, you are wrong. USA, the world’s largest democracy also block internet if they don’t like contents of some website.

In a latest news, the Library of Congress has blocked access to the Wikileaks site on its internal and wireless network for visitors. I is told that the Department of Education has also blocked Wikileaks. It is also reported that the State Department and the Commerce Department have told their employees not to look at the Wikileaks cables.

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Will Nepal government block WikiLeaks? China has !

The WikiLeaks website was blocked in China on Wednesday in an attempt to save face to during the potentially embarrassing situation when the leaked U.S. diplomatic cables will be posted in the site. Now, WikiLeaks has joined the wide range of Western websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Some of the cables related to China are  told to contain communications stating –

  • China’s Politburo directed a cyber intrusion into Google’s computer systems…
  • Chinese diplomat quoted describing North Korea as a "spoiled child" …
  • North Korea’s communist regime would likely collapse within three years of the death of ruler Kim Jong Il
  • Chinese leaders were prepared to accept South Korea’s eventual rule

Little is known about what is there in case of Nepal. I wonder if the Nepal government wants to block the website in Nepal.

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Internet black-list updated – 56 sites in the new list

Grow-up Nepal Government !(borrowed from a Facebook page against internet ban).

In response to the criticism, the Nepali government has updated the internet ban list by removing ‘non-explicit’ sites and adding some more sites in the list.

Removed from the previous list are huffingtonpost.com, sites of music band Sex Pistol, Healthguru, Springer, Mahalo and other sex awareness sites.

In the updated list, Playboy is among the other sites added. There were only 53 sites in the previous list and the new list features 56 sites. Here is the full list:

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Internet control front – Public decency and courtesy

Guest writer: Lakshya Humagain

It was much easier in the olden days when the Government controlled everything. The equation has changed drastically with the recent advancement in communication and electronics. The phone, newspapers, radio, movies, television, post letters were much easier to control. In this internet-age, although all of these services can now be embraced in a single device, a computer; it is much more difficult to control.

There are always problem when government seeks control on one of these communication media. Countries like US and China are effectively controlling these media but, when it comes to the poor countries, like Nepal, it is not that easy.

The recent attempt of the Nepali government to control internet can be seen as one of the desperate attempts to control communication of its citizen. The only, and the most palatable front to start internet control was "public decency and courtesy" issue. They know, society can digest the argument and there will be less resistance on such control. The idea however is not original, and was widely practiced during the 1980s feminists and conservatives’ attempt to raise the issues of morality and public safety. Their argument, hard-core erotica promotes sexual violence against women, was proved to be flawed! In a paper (download pdf) presented at Stanford Law School, Clemson University economist, Todd Kendall, suggest that p0rn sites help potential rapists to relieve their sexual urges and do less crimes. Meaning, such sites actually decreases sexual violence.

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Internet Privacy ? High speed internet subscribers targeted by police in Nepal

What is the speed of your internet connection?

If you live in Nepal, and are subscribed to internet speed more than 1mbps, forget about your privacy. The police are snooping on those high-speed internet users.

After a couple of failures on internet banning attempts, police has thought of this new tactics to deal with illegal users of internet. Previously, police had directed ISPs to block sex related sites. The step proved to to short-sighted approach, as I suspected, and implementation was not done effectively. Some of the ISPs (e.g. Subishu) have blocked xNepali.com, and hence we are seeing lower than usual traffic from Nepal these days.

After the failure of identifying which site to block and which not, the police blocked 5 voip sites. The very next day, Google announced its internet phone service which offered free calls to US and Canada. Thank god, they didn’t try blocking Google.

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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.

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