India blocks hundreds of sex sites in the name of 'decency'

India's government has been threatening to crack down on porn in the country, and it looks like the administration has made good on its word. The Department of Telecommunications has blocked 857 sex sites (including everything from Fleshbot's blog through to hookup site Adult Friend Finder) in the name of "decency." While the restrictions may not affect everyone -- some mobile users report unfettered access, for example -- they're definitely noticeable on at least some landline internet providers. Officials claim that India's IT Act grants them the authority to block content if it preserves "public order" and prevents sites from inciting crimes.

Whether or not the government actually has that power isn't so certain. Legal experts believe that the Department may have to provide evidence that the block is truly necessary. Also, the nation's Chief Justice has contended that banning porn at home would violate personal liberty rights. It won't be shocking if the courts eventually overturn the censorship move. As it stands, there are questions as to whether or not the ban will be effective. It should be relatively easy to find a workaround (such as using a proxy or virtual private network), and it's doubtful that there will be a truly comprehensive list of forbidden web pages. Some sites (and some people) are bound to slip through the cracks.

[Image credit: AP Photo/ Bikas Das]