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Help HN, lets make GitHub accessible again from India
53 points by eklavya on Jan 1, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 46 comments
Please make the PM of India aware of this gigantic blunder in the name of security. No github means no work for me and I am sure a lot of you.


This is the message I sent. If someone is lazy to write their own, please use this as a template, make changes and send to the PM. Unfortunately, we can send only upto 500 chars long messages. My message is 477 chars and communicates the intent. If you want add/modify/remove something from/to the message to make the message more effective.

Honorable Sir, Yesterday an order issued by DoT blocked 32 websites including Github and Codepad which are used by scientists/engineers/researchers/students for collaboration in academic/professional/research work. As an ambitious engineer from India who is passionate towards nation building, I request you to instruct concerned authorities to revisit the decision for blocking full github.com website instead of just the specific pages which contained objectionable material.

This is the message i sent

    Should we ban pencils, because a terrorist wrote a threat on a paper? 
    This is exactly what has happened. 
    Honorable Sir, Yesterday an order issued by DoT blocked 32 websites 
    including Github which are used by scientists/engineers/researchers/students 
    for collaboration. 
    This is clearly an un-informed decision, and engineers across the 
    world are wondering how this was arm-twisted as a policy. 
    I have never interacted with the PMO, but I voice the opinion of 
    millions of engineers like me.

It feels really nice to see that the Indian Government is developing responsive sites now. About time! Welcome to Web 2.0 NIC :)

Thanks. I sent message

Bypassing a mere DNS block such as this one, should be trivial for anyone with basic network knowledge IMHO. I will offer a couple of solutions quickly:

1) Have you tried Tor[1]? Should be fast enough for Github push/pull and browsing. You can route all your traffic easily through the Tor network or even configure which requests (based on DNS) should be routed through the tor network and which ones should not. There are other solutions as I2P (google it).

2) You can buy a VPS and set-up a proxy from the Netherlands or the US, for 5 USD/month at Digital Ocean.

3) You can scan the internet for anonymous proxies, there are many lists available.

The most secure and cheap solution of course is Tor.

UPDATE: Some people report that it's not a DNS level block?! Anyway, using Tor should work for anyone. You can even setup a router running Tor and get over with it, DNS requests are router through tor.

[1] https://www.torproject.org/about/overview

Sure, these things are usually easy to bypass, but addressing the root cause is a good idea, long term.

+1. Also, these are not so easy to bypass for people with not-so-high level of technical skills.

Do NOT follow this. Circumventing the block might be crime. Wait for few days either they will unblock or file petition in court or to respective department. If many people do this , then gov will start blocking only content no the site.

They have issued a circular instructing ISPs to block the websites, but haven't made accessing the sites illegal for consumers AFAIK. There are perfectly good reasons to already have been using Google or OpenDNS that have nothing to do with the block.

If I'd already been using these perfectly legitimate services, and went onto Github like any other day, would I be committing a crime?

For those who are concerned about privacy/security I would advocate with OpenNIC Project resolvers[1].

[1] http://www.opennicproject.org/ I had a configuration some time ago using unbound + DNSSEC + DNSCrypt with OpenNIC servers.

This is a great initiative thanks. In the meantime would switching to google dns help?

Also here is the clickable


Not a DNS level block so Google DNS doesn't work.

I switched to Google DNS and it's working just fine.

I must be unlucky then.

Here is how to make git to use tor: http://oniondigest.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/using-git-with-t... so you can push to Github. For browsing it, use Tor browser: https://www.torproject.org/

You are welcome.

I don't think India PM cares of you not able to use github when it comes to what they think is national security.

Off topic, but Indian English fascinates me. For example, "Honourable" is abbreviated to "Hon'ble" everywhere on that site, saving very few letters. (Of course, it's also somewhat weird to bestow a special formal title on someone, and then abbreviate it out of laziness. If you don't type out their title, how much are you really honoring them? English. Weird language.)

American English often abbreviates Honorable (the honorific for a judge or magistrate) as "Hon.".

Which is also the colloquial shortening of the partners' pet name "Honey".

I have never received a reduced sentence after pointing this out.

India is a former British colony so I'd wager this is actually just plain English, if slightly archaic.

I'm getting an error message [1]:

"Sorry your session has expired. Kindly login again to continue."

even if I have just logged in. I cleared cookies, etc. but no use. And that error text is in white font over pink background -- hard to read without mouse-selecting.

[1]: https://imgur.com/7aAViSu

I see GitHub accessible to our team all day yesterday and today as well. A news appeared that some of the sites where unblocked after the offending material was removed and the websites complied to the governments ask.

I don't know yet what websites are unblocked.

Exactly. I can access Github without any problems as well (in Mumbai).

I tried my home wifi, office wifi and Vodafone 3g and it worked from all of these.

In fact, today I can even use Vimeo and Weeby which were blocked until yesterday.

What was the offending material?

Because they supposedly had anti India content from ISIS (sigh)

AKA nothing changed and nothing was actually there.

Name-checking terrorists is so thin it's transparent.

Also, the SourceForge link was for pastebin source code[0] and not an actual pastebin.

IMHO it was a lazy request from the copyright lobby, which is seeking to criminalize anonymous text and links. They don't care that it's insane, the world isn't changed by being reasonable; at worst they'd have shifted the Overton window and made the other wing of the lobby look sane. The politicians barely care, and another level of jaded drones didn't bother to contact anybody[1], put up a DNS block and went home.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8820591

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8820289

> No github means no work for me and I am sure a lot of you

Out of curiosity, is bitbucket blocked? If not, why not use them as a mirror and interact that way until github is available?

(I thought the whole point of DVCS was that your repo wasn't centralized)

I personally use bitbucket for my repos, yet I would not want to loose access to github.

GitHub has become more than a DVCS: Loads of relevant Open Source projects are hosted there. If I want to contribute - or even browse issues - I need access to GitHub. Same goes for discovery.

Also, lot's of tutorials will provide their example project on GitHub. Plus, GitHub both hosts a fair amount of static pages of Open Source projects and individuals, plus some blogs/tutorials embed gists when the use code samples.

Do you have a github repo ?

If your release and branching is based on Git and all the work you did resides there, it becomes difficult to switch horses mid stream. If your open source contributors and have accept pull requests then the history gets lost.

Repo isn't centralized, its distributed amongst Github not across systems (Github to Bitbucket or Cloudforge etc.)

You can use bitbucket with git. As far as the repo is concerned, all you need to do is change the remote urls.

I understand if there are post-commit hooks that depend on github integration and bitbucket integration is not available.

It's not difficult to switch horses whatsoever.

In fact, you could add a bitbucket repo in a matter of seconds and use it alongside github. Or in place of.

Pull requests are merges. The history lives in the repo.

git itself is distributed. However, GitHub has more or less broken that model in the sense that many rely upon Github's web-based features for workflow. Additional, a number of processes (CI, deployment, static analysis, etc) rely upon Github's webhooks.

Private repo and I am not the owner.

In addition to writing to the government and officials, everyone should also push their ISPs to be more transparent about implementing internet censorship diktats from the government. If we don't know that sites we're trying to access are blocked and the reasons why, we won't be able to take up the matter with the authorities.

I just called up my ISP (MTS) and made enough noise for them to hopefully take notice.

im curious what the % drop in # of commits is for the days its blocked.

Generally speaking IMHO will be a drop in the ocean. If you're talking about India-only devs/projects then you might have some drop but not substantial. IMHO those who's job depend heavily on github are pushing/pulling code through proxies already without even bothering about the silly block.

I made a chrome extension + desktop software a while ago so people can shield themselves from this spontaneous blocking of websites and service. You can get it from http://getolive.org

Hopefully, it will be of some help to you guys :)

I am using airtel broardband and able to use github without any issue.

I am on Bsnl and many isps lease from it, so many are affected.

Airtel has no issues via google dns.

I think the government Internet providers (MTNL etc.) have already blocked it. I cannot access github without VPN.

Can still access GitHub from BSNL.

Checked four major ISPs, Github is accessible from India. Can anyone confirm which ISP is (still) blocking it?

I use the Tata Nova DNS server and Github is still blocked here.

I am on Bsnl, it's blocked here.

Not blocked for me. Able to access through workplace network and home network both.

Github is accessible with ACT also.

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