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A guide to watching porn in India—despite the ban

Quartz india
Quartz india

Monday morning blues in the world’s largest democracy this week included a ban on online pornography.

Porn-loving Indians—who are among the most prolific consumers of the stuff in the world—now must do without some 850 websites the government has reportedly banned. The country’s internet service providers have to ensure that their users can’t access these websites, and some already have.

While no one is quite sure what exactly prompted this latest crackdown, HuffPost India reports that the Narendra Modi government apparently went for the kill after the country’s supreme court prodded it for its “lethargic approach to the issue” of pornography in India.

Here’s the entire list of the 857 sites that have been blocked.

“We aren’t challenging anybody’s right to see the content,” a government official involved in the process told Quartz, requesting anonymity. “We are challenging the right of a person to show the content.” That argument, of course, is specious, especially since the supreme court itself had earlier indicated that banning porn may be problematic.

“Somebody may come to the court and say ‘look I am above 18 and how can you stop me from watching it within the four walls of my room.’ It is a violation of Article 21 [right to personal liberty],” chief justice H.L. Dattu had said last month.

To add to that, government sources told Quartz that they scarcely expect the ban to be entirely enforceable, given the massive volumes of pornographic content on the internet and the multiple routes for accessing them. In effect, the ban seems largely symbolic.

So, if you’re in India, here’s a rough guide to circumnavigating the government’s latest online shenanigan—or, why the Modi government’s attempted gag on online porn is entirely ridiculous:

  1. The 850-odd banned websites are only the tip of the gigantic iceberg of online porn that internet users have access to. Therefore, in case your go-to site is now blocked, it’s not particularly challenging to find another portal. After all, the internet is afloat with porn (although no one knows exactly how much) and the biggest of sites once apparently drew as much traffic as Google and Facebook.
  2. If you’re still obsessed with those banned sites, simply use a proxy. A clutch of proxy websites—including HideMyAss, Free Proxy, and inCloak—should let you bypass an internet service provider’s internet protocol (IP) address and connect to any website.
  3. In case that doesn’t work, turn to the trusty Virtual Private Network (VPN) route, which our Chinese neighbours assiduously employ to breach their Great Firewall. Choose from a variety of free or paid VPNs, depending on your willingness to pay to play.
  4. Then, there’s a bunch of social networks—including Reddit, DailyMotion and VKontakte—that host substantial quantities of pornographic material. Even while these websites mention that only adults are allowed into pages with pornographic content, it isn’t mandatory to register on most.
  5. Of course, the entire world of torrents remains unscathed. It is, undoubtedly, more time consuming than speedily streaming content but it gets the job done.
  6. India’s massive and pervasive grey market of offline pornography is yet another option. A porn DVD can be bought for as low as Rs30, while some sellers also offer to upload content on a flash drive at even cheaper rates. Just visit your local market.
  7. If all else fails, book a ticket to Khajuraho for inspiration.

Please send us more tips at ideas.india@qz.com.

Also read: India and Pakistan’s unlikely anti-pornography crusaders: a lawyer and a teenager

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