Why a RTI will be more effective than taking down government websites

Update (24.05.2012) : Even though Airtel has unblocked the Vimeo domain at www.vimeo.com, it still retains a block on http://player.vimeo.com which is required to play the video on the domain. As noted in the comments below as of today, Airtel has given contrary statements as to why it has blocked vimeo and in some cases refuses to provide complete information as to the john doe order.

Chetan Gupta, a lawyer from Delhi has prepared a RTI and filed it with the DOT (Department of Telecom) asking whether any Order was issued by it to block Piratebay, Vimeo, Pastbin and other websites. Responses to such a RTI will increase transparency and bring clarity as to the status of the blocks, since Reliance Communications last week stated it has blocked the websites as per a DOT Order.

Such responses will also be useful for lawyers thinking of approaching a Court to challenge the sorry state of affairs.

Click here for the sample RTI.

Additionally, I also strongly urge users to send an email to customer care asking them to disclose the Order of the High Court under which the blocks are being carried out. Kindly also ask them to disclose the letter from the lawyers of the Plaintiff which asked for the website blocks. You can use the format below.Kindly note the information in brackets i.e. “[]”, has to be filled in by you.

To: response@airtelmail.in, 121@airtelindia.com, airtelpresence@airtel.in

[Insert todays date]

Subject : Access to Vimeo.com

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a subscriber with Airtel fixed line and broadband services holding account number ____________ in the name of ___________ at ____(insert address here)_. On _[insert date and time]_ I attempted to access the website www.vimeo.com from my above mentioned internet connection, however the I could not access the same and instead of the website a message was displayed which stated, “Access to this site has been blocked as per Court Orders”.

The denial of access to this website has caused me great inconvenience as I regularly access www.vimeo.com.

I kindly request you to provide me with the following information:

(a) The Case number, the name of the High Court and the date of the Order in compliance with which access to www.vimeo.com is being blocked.

(b) A copy of the Order in compliance with which access to www.vimeo.com is being blocked.

© Any letters or correspondences sent by lawyers or any other parties asking for the blocking of www.vimeo.com and any other websites.

Kindly provide such information at the earliest.

Kind Regards

[Insert your name]

[Insert your address]

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