Several Internet service providers in India have blocked access to Internet Archive – a non-profit organisation that runs Wayback Machine, a massive archive of webpages dating back to over a decade – many people reported on Tuesday. Internet Archive confirmed to Gadgets 360 that it is aware of the situation and eager to “see full access restored to archive.org.”
Some subscribers of Airtel, Aircel, and Act Internet, among other carriers, are seeing a DoT notification when they attempt to access Internet Archive. The notification reads, “Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India.”
Popularly known as time-warping tool, Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine has made copies of over three billion pages over the years. In the age of ephemeral media, Way Back Machine has become a cultural phenomenon, serving as a permanent registrar of popular websites and other webpages.
Update: In a statement to Gadgets 360, a spokesperson for Internet Archive said the Government of India has not contacted them regarding this apparent blocking. “We have no information about why a block would have been implemented.”
“Multiple attempts to contact the DoT and MeitY (DeitY was the agency that ultimately ended up responding to us regarding the previous block) have gone unanswered thus far (we first tried to reach out to them about 22 hours ago),” the person added. “Obviously, we are disappointed and concerned by this situation and are very eager to understand why it’s happening and see full access restored to archive.org.”
It remains unclear why DoT has ordered access to Internet Archive to be canned, a development that was first reported by MediaNama.
While several carriers including Vodafone and Reliance Jio have not yet blocked Internet Archive, they will likely follow the suit soon enough. ISPs in India often take actions on such directions at their own pace.