NEW DELHI: A website that allows consumers to post un-moderated complaints against companies, products and services have been banned in India. When web users access the site www.ripoffreport.com, they are greeted by a message telling them that "access to website (is) blocked".
TOI tried to open the website on Airtel and MTNL networks but in both cases the internet service providers (ISPSs) blocked the access. The website was, however, accessible using a proxy server located out of India, clearly indicating that it has been banned here.
The blocking of RipOffReport was first reported by Medianama.
The consumer complaints website has been blocked just weeks after Indian government ordered ISPs to cut off access to several adult forums and file storage sites. However, unlike the previous methods used to ban websites, it seems ISPs (or the government) are using a different method on this occasion. Earlier, ISPs used a list-based system to block websites, which was not particularly strong and easy to bypass.
They also generally informed the users that the website has been blocked as per a court order or on the directives of Department of Telecom.
On this occasion, the method used to block the website seems less susceptible to hacks and is unlikely to be circumvented with ease.
Currently, it is not clear why RipOffReport, which is controversial because it allows anyone to attack a company or product without providing any substantive proof, has been banned. It could be due to a court order or on the basis of a complaint filed with Department of Telecom.
Typically, Indian government does not provide any explanation on why it has banned a particular website. Sources told TOI that in most cases even ISPs are not provided this information. They are just served an order telling them to block websites.