Access to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has been confirmed to be blocked by several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across India. For those unaware, the Wayback Machine project is an online library of over 302 billion web pages and provides access to users to more than a decade-old online content for free. It is an initiative of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation called Internet Archive.
Simply speaking, this means even if a news organisation or any other website owner has taken down an article or content from their website and if it is saved on Wayback Machine Web Archive , the particular content remains saved online forever. Blocking access to it means restricting netizens access to an entire library with the wealth of free information and history.
For example, the recent news of “Adani Group ‘SLAPP’ pushes Economic & Political Weekly editor out of his job”, in which the Economic & Political Weekly website was forced to delete an article titled ‘Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group’ (June 24, 2017) due to a threat of an expensive lawsuit was later saved on the web archive. While readers do not have access to this article on the EPW website (www.epw.in), the same article can be found here on Internet Archive. (If your ISP hasn’t blocked Internet Archive already).
The incident was first reported by MediaNama and there has been no response from the Indian government as to why such a step was taken. Vodafone and Reliance Jio subscribers are still able to access Internet Archive.
The non-profit organisation is already aware of the situation and has reached out to DoT and MeitY to get a response on the matter. However, there is none yet while they wait to see full access being restored to web.archive.org.
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