India’s government has blocked the Internet Archive, the free, 21-year-old online digital library that lets anyone find archived versions of millions of webpages through the Wayback Machine. The move has prompted backlash in India, particularly because the access to deleted webpages that the Internet Archive provides offers an easy way to get around government censorship.
It's not clear why the website was blocked. An Internet Archive spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the service had not been contacted by the Indian government and that its queries to the Department of Telecommunications and the country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology have gone unanswered.
"It seems highly unlikely to me that the Wayback Machine or Archive.org threaten national security or public order in a way that Google's Cache or a well-stocked library don't," said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society. Doing this prevents citizens from knowing why a website is blocked. "This is another reminder of the capricious, arbitrary, and utterly opaque nature of online censorship in India," Prakash told BuzzFeed News.
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