I’m something words can't describe.

*** Update on Blockage in India*** FWB-10877

*** Update *** 10/29/2010

***************************************************************************
ATTN: ALL CUSTOMERS IN INDIA

We believe your sites should be accessible now! Please try to access your sites as soon as you receive this message. If you still can't access the site, it could take up until 2pm EST in the US for all sites to be accessible again.

I can't thank each one of you enough for your patience as we worked through this very challenging event. Best of luck to you, and thanks for remaining loyal Webs customers!

Very sincerely,

Jerry Weinberger
Director, Service & Retention
Webs

****************************************************************************

Re: Conference call between Webs and the US Department of Commerce, Market Access and Compliance Office

1. Compliance Office was very sympathetic to the blockage situation, particularly the number of affected users. They committed to doing everything they possibly can to help.
2. Webs informed the Compliance Office of all that we had done so far, and are forwarding documentation on everything we've sent, who we've sent it to, who has responded and what their responses were.
3. Compliance Office will be reaching out to the Director General, DIT personally to discuss the blockage and the interpretation of the court order.
4. Webs will begin communication with our legal team to assess the feasibility of pursuing legal action to amend the court order.
5. Compliance Office will send Webs legal firm referrals in India and will ask their own lawyers their recommendation on the best way to proceed from this point.
6. We will hear back from the Compliance Office once the above actions are completed, with advisement on next steps.

Thanks,

Jerry Weinberger
Director, Service and Retention
Webs.com

*********************************************

A number of users have reported issues accessing their sites from India due to ISPs blocking access to Webs.

he problem is not that your site is down!

The problem is that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has been ordered by the Indian government, to block one of our IP addresses - that is, to block ALL our member sites that use the address:

http://membersite.webs.com

THIS is why you cannot see your site, but people in other countries can!

Update 9/08/2010

The following article was in the Hindustan Times yesterday. Ashit, thank you once again for continuing to push this locally.

Click here to read article

Jerry

Update 8/27/2010

I sent this email this morning to Mumbai's Cyber Crime Investigation Cell:

****************
I am the Director of Customer Support for Webs.com, an international hosting provider for individuals, groups and organizations that are interested in building a website. We recently became aware of a large number of our customers in India that are not able to access their sites that are in a specific format (http://xxxxxxxx.webs.com).

We have been advised by a customer of one of India’s ISPs (through information obtained from the ISP) that the offending site that caused a global block on all of our webs.com addresses is http://donotdial100.webs.com. I would like to confirm with you that Webs.com has frozen this site as of 08/11/2010. We have a very strict Terms of Service policy that states we freeze sites for any abuse or neglect for our Terms of Service. This is the reason we froze the aforementioned site. If this was the only offending site that caused your blockage in India, we have confirmed that it has been frozen. If there are additional offending sites, I ask that you forward those site addresses as soon as possible so that we can take the necessary action on those as well.

Sir, I respectfully request that you get the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate 37th Court, Esplanade, Mumbai to rectify their Order 1403 of 2010 (dated 7th August 2010) to modify the IP Address (which is the general address for all webs.com sub-domains). As state above, I would like to make it clear that Webs.com has blocked the specific offending site. We ( as well as our customers in India that have unfortunately been affected) are concerned with the upcoming weekend that there will be no action until Monday at the earliest, so we would like this matter rectified sometime today if at all possible.

You can get a sense for the frustration of our customers there by going to our community topic at this location: http://support.webs.com/webs/topics/i....

It is our hope that you will be able to assist us in some way to resolve this unfortunate experience and allow our customer's sites to be accessible again. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Regards,

Jerry Weinberger
Director, Service and Retention
Webs.com
****************

Update: 8/24/2010

I just received a copy of an email that the Webmaster, DIT-Website sent to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team - CERT-In (grai@cert-in.org.in):

****************************
From: Webmaster DIT [mailto:webmaster@mit.gov.in]
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 1:26 AM
To: grai@cert-in.org.in
Subject: Urgent: Unblocking of Site as requested

Respected sir,

Kind request is placed for looking into the complaints received with regard to blocking of Webs.com domain. The content of the mails received are appended below. Please look into the complaints.

Thanks & Regards,

Webmaster
DIT-Website
*****************************

The above email included a copy of the email that I sent, as well as the emails from Ashit Sarkar and the Jain Group of Institutions.

I called the Webmaster that originated this latest email and he confirmed that the email is asking the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to look into the complaints. He also stated that I will receive a response in email once it has been reviewed.

Thanks all,

Jerry
We are told that the department responsible for the block is:

DIT (Department of Information Technology).

A member of Webs has helped a great deal in contacting government authorities and finding out what was happening. Our phone calls and emails have gone unanswered, so I believe we all owe sarkarsweet a great big "thank you!" for his diligence.

This is what he says in his post:

Accordingly, I have looked through the DIT website (http://www.mit.gov.in/) and found the following useful info:

Dr. Gulshan Rai, Director General, (e-mail: grai@mit.gov.in)
I-CERT (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team ) and GC(Cyber Laws Group Formulation & Enforcement Division), Department of Information Technology,
Electronics Niketan, 6, CGO Complex,
Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003
Telephone: +91-11-24368544
Fax: +91-11-24366806

Website Related: Webmaster Department of Information Technology &
Web Information Manager, DIT-Website
Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (Govt. of India)
Electronics Niketan, 6, CGO Complex,
Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003
Tele: 011-24301851/862
Fax: 011-24364739
Email: webmaster@mit.gov.in


Please contact DIT. They must be the ones to lift the block.

We need YOU to help us, by writing to this organization and requesting the block be lifted so you can access your site.

Our letter as of today, 23 August, to DIT:



I am the Director of Customer Support for Webs.com, an international hosting provider for individuals, groups and organizations that are interested in building a website. We recently became aware of a large number of our customers in India that are not able to access their sites that are in a specific format (http://xxxxxxxx.webs.com).

Our research in speaking with both our customers and Internet Service Providers in India originally led us to believe that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has blocked IP address 216.52.115.50 (Webs.com), rendering all of our customer's sites in the above format inaccessible. We have since learned from one of our customers that the Department of Information Technology (DIT) is the entity that initiated the blockage.

We have been advised by a customer of one of India’s ISPs (through information obtained from the ISP) that the offending site that caused your office to place a global block on all of our webs.com addresses is http://donotdial100.webs.com. I would like to confirm with you that Webs.com has frozen this site as of 08/11/2010. We have a very strict Terms of Service policy that states we freeze sites for any abuse or neglect for our Terms of Service. This is the reason we froze the aforementioned site. If this was the only offending site that caused your blockage in India, we have confirmed that it has been frozen. If there are additional offending sites, I ask that you forward those site addresses as soon as possible so that we can take the necessary action on those as well.

It is my hope and expectation that as a result of receiving this confirmation, you will unblock all of our other users who are legitimate, allowing them to restore their normal course of business. Unfortunately it has been almost two weeks since this blockage occurred. We continue to have many unhappy customers in India who cannot access their legitimate sites as a result, and many unhappy Internet Service Providers who cannot do anything to help them. You can get a sense for the frustration of our customers there by going to our community topic at this location: http://support.webs.com/webs/topics/i....

I very much appreciate your willingness to work with us now and in the future. It is our hope that you will be able to assist us in some way to resolve this unfortunate experience and allow our customer's sites to be accessible again. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.




Below is a record of some of the communications we have sent regarding this problem, however, please note that only the above information needs to be acted on by the users at this point.


Update: 23 August 2010

We have finally tracked this down to TRAI - the Telecom regulatory facility in India - having placed a block on Webs. We are working to contact them to identify the reason for the block, so we can get the block lifted.

You might try emailing them as well:
ap@trai.gov.in

Update: 20 August

We have been alerted to a process called an "RTI Application" that may be another avenue for customers affected by this blockage to take. We just did some research on the RTI Application and unfortunately we cannot file one on behalf of Webs.com. It must be filed out and submitted by a citizen of India. Therefore, I encourage all of you to fill one of these out as soon as possible so they cannot ignore the problem and the severity. Here is the URL for your convenience:

http://www.rtiindia.org

We continue to work diligently toward a solution and will keep you updated if and when we make any progress.

Regards,

Jerry
Director, Customer Relations
Webs.com

Update: 19 August (from our Director of Customer Relations)

The following email was sent to these organizations:

* Secretary, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
* Internet Service Providers Association of India
* Internet & Mobile Association of India
* Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Department of Telecom

Dear Mr. Arnold,

We have been advised by a customer of one of India’s ISPs (through information obtained from the ISP) that the offending site that caused your office to place a global block on all of our webs.com addresses is http://donotdial100.webs.com. I would like to confirm with you that Webs.com has frozen this site as of 08/11/2010.

As previously stated, we are an international hosting provider that provides free tools and applications for individuals, groups and organizations to create their own websites. In addition, we have a very strict Terms of Service policy that states we freeze sites for any abuse or neglect for our Terms of Service. This is the reason we froze the aforementioned site. We just learned that this was the offending site this morning.

If this was the only offending site that caused your blockage in India, we have confirmed that it has been frozen. If there are additional offending sites, I ask that you forward those site addresses as soon as possible so that we can take the necessary action on those as well.

It is my hope and expectation that as a result of receiving this confirmation, you will unblock all of our other users who are legitimate, allowing them to restore their normal course of business. I very much appreciate your willingness to work with us now and in the future. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thanks in advance and best regards,

*******************************************

Previous updates:

Also, one of our users has been dilligent in contacting his ISP to get information about this. (Thank you very much, vamseedharan !!)

This is the response he got from them:

Dear Sir
"Due to security reasons, the mentioned site IP (216.52.115.50) has been
blocked throught our country from various providers , due to this activity
this site will not open anywhere in INDIA" as per information received from
our Network Operating Center, Bangalore please.

Thanks & Regards
for DE(NIB) Chennai Node.
denibchn@dataone.in

That site IP (216.52.115.50) is for ANY site with the address:

http://membersite.webs.com

This means any site that has the username.webs.com address will be blocked by some ISPs in India, although at this point it looks like it's only mobile and broadband service. This is not a problem in other places.

This means, you should be able to access:
http://www.webs.com
http://www.freewebs.com/username

But if you are in India, you CANNOT access any site with the subdomain.webs.com address, such as:

http://caroline.webs.com
http://sports.webs.com
http://health.webs.com

But you CAN access those sites using the Freewebs address:

http://www.freewebs.com/caroline
http://www.freewebs.com/sports
http://www.freewebs.com/health

Until the ISPs in India unblock the membersite.webs.com IP, you can use the http://www.freewebs.com/username address to access your site.

There is a problem with this method, however -- the templates will not show up for you if your ISP is blocking the membersite.webs.com IP - the content will be there, but the CSS will not come through, because the CSS comes from the membersite.webs.com IP.

The other solution, that WILL allow the CSS to come through, is to use a custom domain name, which you can register through the Premium > Domain Names area of your account. If you have a custom domain name, the CSS will reflect the domain address, and will not be blocked.

You can change to the freewebs.com/username address as the primary site address (or a domain name, if you have one) in the Site Settings of your account.

We are working on getting TRAI to lift the block, and appreciate your patience and assistance in providing us with information, and in contacting your ISPs!

Update:
We have written to TRAI and will be attempting to call them by phone in the morning (when it's morning in India).

Please do write to them as well, at : ap@trai.gov.in

Encourage them to communicate with us so this situation can be resolved. They can write to:
abuse@webs.com

We can freeze any offending sites, but we need to know the site addresses that were the problem.

Thank you for understanding. We hope that the block against Webs will be lifted soon.

Update as of 8/18/2010

The following email was sent this morning to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, in addition to two organizations I emailed yesterday:

- Internet Service Providers Association of India
- Internet & Mobile Association of India

August 18, 2010

To: 'dirds2-dot@nic.in'

I am the Director of Customer Support for Webs.com, an international hosting provider for individuals, groups and organizations that are interested in building a website. We recently became aware of a large number of our customers in India that are not able to access their sites that are in a specific format (http://xxxxxxxx.webs.com).

Our research in speaking with both our customers and Internet Service Providers in India has resulted in us learning that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has blocked IP address 216.52.115.50 (Webs.com), rendering all of our customer's sites in the above format inaccessible. We believe that there was one offending site that caused this, which we are able to block ourselves if the site is communicated to us. Unfortunately we have many unhappy customers in India who cannot access their legitimate sites as a result, and many unhappy Internet Service Providers who cannot do anything to help them.

I am reaching out to you as I believe you may act in the interest of ISPs and consumers in India. We, in addition to many of our customers in India, have tried numerous attempts to call and email TRAI to no avail. We have yet to receive a single response from them. I have also emailed the Internet Service Providers Association of India, as well as the Internet & Mobile Association of India.

It is our hope that you will be able to assist us in some way to resolve this unfortunate experience and allow our customer's sites to be accessible again. You can get a sense for the frustration of our customers there by going to our community topic at this location: http://support.webs.com/webs/topics/i...

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Best regards,

Jerry Weinberger
Director, Customer Relations
Webs.com

As we have been unsuccessful so far in reaching TRAI, I encourage you to continue trying to contact them. We also ask that you attempt to get your ISPs to do the same.
Reply
next » « previous
next » « previous