Orkut Banned

The management at IIT Delhi has decided to block access to www.orkut.com from within the institute. Whether it is an attempt to police the innocent students getting over-enthused by the ongoing craze of dating or an inefficient means of regulating internet traffic, nobody knows, as there is not official announcement. But this abrupt blockage of the site using 'Content Keeper' has caused a shock to the student community.

Orkut had been a topic of discussion among the faculty and the web administrators for quite some time. Many in the institute felt that students are wasting a lot of time browsing and scrapping on orkut. It may be true to some extent as I have myself seen situations in the lab where all the monitor screens show similar snapshots of orkut profile page opened up in firefox and people busy finding new profiles and scrapping to keep their network of friends going. A lot of BTech students are actively involved in various communities and are regular posters on all threads, many of which are games and silly gossip.

However addicted a student might be to things like orkut, it is a horrible act on the part of the web administrators of the IIT Delhi to cross the limit of freedom of choice of an individual. An institute in which more than 95% of the residents are adults (going by the norms that a person is an adult if he is above 18yrs) such a step is seriously condemnable. I imagine the series of strikes and mass bunks of classes and a gherao of the director that would have happened if such a curb on personal freedom is afflicted on students of any ordinary engineering colleges. But what can be done in IIT where faculty is the GOD and students are mere mortals under their stronghold.

Banning orkut is not an isolated happening. Various adult/porn sites are blocked. I dont know what our director thinks about sex education, but when there is a lot of hue and cry about sex education by our politicians and governments I dont have a surprise in experiencing such restrictions. On this note, I would add that there is a ridiculous custom of so-called 'Socials' in each hostel where the first year students are given opportunity to mingle with girls from other colleges in Delhi. A bus full of girls from different colleges is brought for a disco party within the hostel (i hope you know that IIT Delhi is the only IIT where girls are not allowed in boys hostels). Such double standards from a premier institute like IIT is not at all expected. On one hand they encourage freshers (who are less than 18yrs of age) to date with girls and on the other they restrict adults from visiting dating sites (like orkut as that is also classified as a dating site).

Yet another excuse for blocking orkut is to control the internet traffic. Over the past 3 years I have been seeing numerous attempts by our pathetic network administrators to improve the network speed of our LAN which is at times slower than a cheap broadband connection provided by Airtel. First they disallowed sharing on the LAN across hostels. Then they blocked access to the lab's LAN from hostels. Then came blocking of bit torrents, which students use to download movies and other entertainment stuff. And the last nail on the coffin was disabling IP adresses that has high internet usage.

One thing I should say here that despite all these attempts, students have been accessing all the sites they want and sharing stuff across the network. If the network admin ban usage of one software, students find another one. It has been a cat and mouse game between the admins and the users. And the internet speed from the hostels still remain at a sluggish 5-10kbps and at times as low as 500 bytes per sec.

What I (in fact anybody who thinks about this issue) cant understand is that why cant the network administrator put up a Proxy server on the main computer centre, through which all internet traffic is routed, and where all students and faculty has logins. It is not a big deal to set that up. And setting weekly download limits for each user ensures that nobody uses more than what he is allotted. The Computer Science department uses this method and has the best LAN in the whole institute.

Let us all pray that the web/system/network administrators in the institute get some real insight into the issue and feel for the students who are unnecessarily being harassed by the moral policing done by them.


Sachin Samy said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
hey VG, nice blog man.....you have pointed out in all the direction....describing social, i like the most.....whenever you write any blog, don't forget to send me the link....i m a big fan of ur blogs.
Rat said…
finished in one go.
nice to know some of the 'inside' stories ;-)
BTW, wat's that first comment ?

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