Anonymous, the faceless worldwide hacktivist group, is staging a series of protests in India on June 9 as part of the ‘Occupy India’ movement. These protests are in response to the blocking of popular file sharing websites like ‘The Pirate Bay’ and video sharing websites like ‘Vimeo’ by ISPs in the country (here is the full list of blocked websites). The protests are in line after the hacking of the websites of Reliance Communications, the Supreme Court and the BJP by Anonymous over the last fortnight.
Trouble started when the Madras High Court passed a John Doe injunction (dated 29 April, 2012) in response to a copyright violation claim filed by a film outfit, Copyright Labs, in Chennai. It is said that the court order was passed only to block certain URLs and links, not entire websites. The task of blocking websites in India is handled by the Department of Electronics and IT. While this department claims to have never passed any directive to ISPs to block the websites, the question remains, why were these sites blocked?
While the true nature of Anonymous is unknown, they have been organizing (peaceful and non-violent) protests like these in many other cities around the world. The group supports free speech on the Internet and views the blocking of websites as a violation of fundamental rights. However, it does not condone piracy. The protests are against the fact that websites have been blocked. In a more ideal situation, selective files or pages that include pirated content should be blocked and not entire websites.