URL blocked – these two words have proven to be the flashpoint of frustration of many a KGPian. The usual retort to this is, “Why the hell can’t I use the sites which I want?” This is followed by the ineluctable flurry of slamming the one and only scapegoat – the CIC with a stream of insults that would put the Styx to shame. This has been compounded with the recent blocking of file-sharing sites and, as some claim, YouTube. However are the folks at the CIC really that complicit in denying us access to all the places we wish to visit in the virtual world? TSA tried its best to find out.
The extremely hospitable CIC programmers did their level best to field our questions, but it was evident from the beginning that they were but pawns in the hands of the administration. The burning question as to why file-sharing sites like Dropbox have been banned was put down by the assertion that it was the result of a direct order from up above as a direct consequence of an incident which took place last semester. Apart from this, the general principle in blocking site categories was that all the sites which were very bandwidth consuming were blocked. The loading of file sharing sites like Dropbox on the PC eats up a lot of bandwidth because it is not locally mounted. Delving further into this, he said that the service provider for the Institute – the National Knowledge Network currently provides them with a bandwidth of 2 Gbps on a 1+1 basis (meaning 1 Gbps is for use by us and 1 is reserved). In a meeting last October, the NKN showed them how file-sharing sites and YouTube were eating up a lot of our bandwidth, and hence were urged to act upon this. The blocking of torrents is done by an institute level committee and the CIC has absolutely no hand in it. As for FTP sites, he mentioned SSL tunnelling as a means to circumvent this.
To sum up, the programmers there seemed to be genuinely interested in helping us out, but in essence, their hands are tied. The programmer we spoke to actually said that if we genuinely wanted an idea about why our internet was so restricted, we should speak to the institute administration as they are the people who pull the strings. This reporter left the CIC with a bit of guilt for mudslinging the CIC and a bit more respect for the guys who work beyond the scenes there.