The Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which is one of the longest serving web history archive in the world, has been blocked by many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in India. This is an unprecedented development and was first reported by Medianama, following which many users tweet confirming the same. According to reports, users are getting a notice, stating that the website has been blocked by the DoT (Department of Telecommunications) under the Government of India.
The operators that seem to have blocked the Internet Archive include some of the major names, like MTNL and BSNL. Even private players like Aircel, Airtel and Tikona have also been accused of doing the same. However, there is no reason – real or apparent – why this ban has been imposed. The new agencies tried to contact these operators to get their side of the story. But till now, no one has responded to the queries.
On the other hand, an Internet Archive spokesperson, while replying a query placed by Gadgets 360, confirmed that they are fully aware of this latest development and are trying their best to resolve the matter. Furthermore, the spokesperson revealed, Internet Archive made several attempts to contact the authorities at the DoT and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to seek clarity have not been answered. Neither anyone from the Indian establishment has voluntarily contacted the Internet Archive to update them on the matter. The spokesperson was also quoted as saying, “Obviously, we are disappointed and concerned by this situation and are very eager to understand why it’s happening and see full access restored to archive.org.”
In this context, it is relevant to mention that the Internet Archive is a non-profit organisation, launched in 2001. Since then, its Wayback Machine is archiving the virtual domain of the web by taking snapshots and maintaining a public record of the evolution of the web. Apart from that, it also allows the members of the public to access the archived versions of web pages from varying time periods.
There have been hues and cries from various quarters about the lack of transparency existing on behalf of the Indian establishment regarding website block. Even in this instance, there is no clarity why the block has been imposed and by whom. In lack of considerable clarity, confusion is rising over whether the ban has been the result of a judiciary directive or a cabinet decision taken at the ministerial level. There is neither any contact address or number of the administrator, who imposed the block.
In this circumstance, the union government has to work on a war-footing to resolve inconvenience for sake of zillions of consumers.