It has been brought to the attention of Naavi.org that the Government of India might have blocked the website zone-h.org. Naavi.org has therefore checked the background of the non availability of zone-h.org from India and  place its reading of the situation as under.

 As of now (march 11), it appears that the site zone-h.org is not accessible in India.  Zone-h.org is a reputed information security website often referred to by security professionals and there is no apparent reason for the same to be blocked because of any content on the site.

However what is interesting is to note that the site has been carrying a few articles in recent days which are critical of a Hyderabad based company called E2 Labs. In a recent article, Zone-h has categorically stated that E2 labs has been trying to attract investors with certain project information which states that zone-h is a business partner for E2 labs. The site zone-h.org states that it has no business relationship with E2 labs and the contents of the documents released by E 2 labs and accessed by Zone-h.org through wikileaks is false. (For a copy of the complete article visit http://www.naavi.org/cl_editorial_10/e2labs_zoneh_org.pdf )

If the contention of Zone-h .org is true, then a serious question is raised on the business ethics of  E 2 labs . It is open for Zone-h.org to take appropriate legal action against E2 labs. If the contents are incorrect,  E2 labs can take-up defamatory action against zone-h.org.

In this fight, readers may wonder where is the scope for blocking of Zone-h.org website because it carries a potentially defamatory article on E2 labs. So far except when political leaders such as Sonia Gandhi or community icons such as Shivaji have been defamed, Government has not taken any action to block the websites. In fact the Government has developed a cold feet even in blocking of kirtu.com. It is therefore surprising that potential defamation of E2 labs is considered sufficient ground to block a respected website such as zone-h.org.

In information just received, it appears that CERT In was not instrumental in the blocking of the website but the same was ordered through a Court action in Hyderabad. 

One option available for Zone-h.org now is to request for reconsideration of the Court decision which should have been restricted to removing of the contentious article alone instead of blocking of the website.

 At the same time we need to take note that the document referred to in the artcile also highlights that E 2 labs is the “Principal Consultant of CERT_In”.  It also states that it is going to be appointed as an advisor of Defense establishments etc.

Since CERT-In is the nodal agency for the national cyber security of India, if the charges made by Zone-h.org is true, E 2 labs would be unsuitable for partnering CERT-In.

In veiw of the fact that this is a serious national security issue, it would be better if Government of India makes a suitable statement clarifying the role of E2 labs in national cyber security. In particular, public are entitled to know if E 2 labs is really the principal consultant of CERT-In and if E 2 labs is also going to be appointed as a consultant for the Indian Defence Forces as they have claimed in the said document.

Naavi of naavi.org

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