So the internet has been back for some days now (who knew the entire thing could be taken away from us like a phone from a naughty kid) but a social media sites and apps as well as a bizarre collection of sites remain inaccessible due to government ordered blocking.
Let me rant a bit
As an aside the thing that irks me the most about the internet shutdown is not really the fact that the internet was shutdown at all. It is the cloak and dagger manner in which it was done. The government if it is ever going to implement blocking legally, which I hate by the way, ought to do it in a transparent manner complete with a list of blocked sites/apps and reasons for blocking them which can withstand common sense scrutiny.
No offence but a Minister or Police Officer shouldn’t really be writing warrants. Strangely most our draconian laws empower people who are not even part of the court system to do this. Implementation of the law should fall under judicial oversight even if its’ a Kangaroo one like the FISA court that Americans use to rubber stamp things.
So about the blocking thing
Well in typical cloak and dagger fashion the government apparently has a list of things they want ISPs to block. This includes blocking access to the most popular VPNs in the App store I suspect. They have ordered ISPs to block these, is my guess. That’s not something that you can easily do considering the importance of the Google Play store.
Some ISPs have decided to be a little lazy about it and gone on to block Google IPs/Domains. Now that’s not very smart as a lot of services tend to share the same addresses. A lot of services make use of shared hosting, CDN and Load balancing. Blocking such an IP might stop the intended service from being reachable but it will mean blocking access to a host other useful services.
A number of users have written to complain that they cannot access Google’s search page. I am one of the people who was shocked to see the entire *.google.com space blocked. Didn’t those doing the blocking get the memo that Google is the internet? Not only do we use it to search we rely on things like Gmail, Analytics, Ad Manager and even domain management.
Blocking the App store also puts people at risk as they can no longer be able to update their apps. This forces people to resort to side loading or relying on third party stores that may or may not be trustworthy.
That’s the trouble with blocking is it never really works that well. The targets if they are motivated enough can switch domains or their IP address on the click of a button. The real victims are the users who will be forced to Bing it. Is that even a thing?