Censorship in India is under attack by a group of anonymous hackers who claim that the Internet bans are an imposition on their freedom.
Nearly 100 protestors gathered in Mumbai, India wearing Guy Fawkes masks and carrying signs, which stated, "People should not be afraid of the government. The government should be afraid of the people." The physical protest was one the first for the hacker group Anonymous, but was preceded by a number of hacking attacks on various government websites.
The group of protestors declared itself to be regular Internet users who were opposed to Internet censorship or fans of the Anonymous group.
"I'm here for internet freedom. There's restrictions on speaking online. That's why I'm here," one student protestor, 19-year-old Amisha, told BBC.
A number of Internet censors pertain to file sharing sites such as Vimeo, Pastebin, Piratebay and Dailymotion. The censors were placed to prevent the illegal downloading of copyrighted material. In addition, new IT regulations have stipulated that content deemed to be "disparaging" or "blasphemous" must be removed within a 36 hour time period.
"I can understand the need for them to take action - because frankly, one feels quite helpless right now, and there needs to be more awareness - but I'm against taking down websites," Nikhil Pahwa, the editor of Medianama, a blog covering the digital industry in India, told BBC. "There are a number of organisations trying to help the government understand the negative impact of their rules, but when you start attacking government websites, it ends up having a negative impact too."
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The Anonymous group has mostly carried out a number of "Denial of Service" (DDOS) attacks, which can temporarily suspend connection to a site. An attack was also launched on the website of state-run telecom provider MTNL. The group hacked the provider and placed their logo, an image of the Guy Fawkes mask, on the site in preparation of their Saturday protest.
"We are protesting arbitrary, extra-judicial censorship, where not even the government knows - or cares - who controls what," an unknown member of the Anonymous group's chat room stated.