The rumblings began sometime on July 31. A casual scroll through an average Twitter timeline would have revealed users posting about some pornographic websites not opening in India – and others saying that they were working just fine. Momentum built up over the weekend, with the hashtag #pornban beginning to proliferate, and more and more people discovering that there appeared to be some sort of concerted effort to block access to porn sites, with an increasing number of ISPs cutting off access. By late evening yesterday, a report had appeared here (http://www.legallyindia.com/Tech-Media-Comms/section-69-porn-block-confirmed-by-isp?utm_medium=web&utm_source=lifeatured), quoting an unnamed source at an ISP, who confirmed that the government had ordered ISPs to block access to over 800 websites, invoking section 69A of the IT Act (read about the act’s provisions here http://www.lawzonline.com/bareacts/information-technology-act/section69A-information-technology-act.htm)

Now, it’s official. The government had indeed issued a notice to ISPs on July 31, ordering them to cut off access to 857 websites, almost all of which are pornographic in nature – these include popular sites such as Pornhub, Redtube, Youporn and Tube8. You can read a copy of the order right here.The background for the ban comes from a petition filed by a lawyer called Kamlesh Vaswani, who argued that pornography was a bad influence on society and should be banned in the country. The government had assured the Supreme Court on July 8 that it would take steps to ban pornography (particularly child pornography), but the Chief Justice of the SC had also observed in court that banning pornography would be a violation of Section 21 of the Constitution.

On the ground, this means that although access to the 857 websites has been blocked, various other pornographic websites are still freely accessible, and it would appear to be a near-impossible task to ban every single porn site on the internet. Additionally, simply using a VPN (virtual private network) will allow users to access the blocked websites. The Supreme Court is yet to give a ruling about Vaswani’s petition, so the days to follow will reveal more about the legality of the government’s order. But the government knew that it was treading murky waters as the “contents of this letter” was to “kindly be kept confidential”.

But we must applaud the research put in. Have you ever heard of sites such as filthyoldies.com, momsinporn.net, wetmaturewhores.com and milfous.com? Well, thanks to the I and T department, now you do. Also, if you ask us, whoever was blocking these sites has a major MILF fetish. Read the order and you will figure that out too.