Telecom operator Reliance Jio seems to be blocking proxy and VPN websites, as reported by several Reddit users in India.
According to a report by Quartz, the various websites which have been blocked include Hide.me, VPNbook, Hidester, Kproxy, Proxysite, Proxy.toolur, andMegaproxy. These websites allow users to download VPN software and hide users’ IP address.
Site blocking by Reliance Jio comes as a surprise as other telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Spectranet, and ACT are running the aforementioned websites. It is further suggested that the act of blocking VPN and proxy sites is Reliance Jio’s own move as nothing of this sort has been issued by the Government of India.
There is also a lack of transparency around website blocking activity meaning it is difficult to ascertain why something like this might be restricted. The act can be considered a violation of net neutrality which requires the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all the online data as equal.
Reliance Jio did not comment on this.
VPN sites being blocked is a serious issue as VPN is not illegal in India and therefore such decisions taken by ISP deserves a proper explanation. India has been cracking down on various websites related to porn and torrent for a long time. However, blocking VPN or Proxy site is just taking things on another level.