Github blocked in India — why even business needs a decentralized internet

Today’s news:

Internet users in India are starting to lose to access websites including GitHub, Internet Archive, Pastebin, and Vimeo under an order from India’s DoT (Department of Telecom).

… “The websites that have been blocked were based on an advisory by Anti Terrorism Squad, and were carrying Anti India content from ISIS.”

So, somebody (here: ISIS) posts something to Github that somebody else (here: India) doesn’t like, and because that somebody else is a powerful entity (here: a government), it simply blocks the entirety of Github for lots of people (population India: about a billion). Collateral damage as percentage of github content: 99.99999% or so.

Sword of Damocles
Imagine if you are a business and have a deadline to meet. Your source code has just become inaccessible, you have no remedy, and there is no timeline whatsoever when you might be back in business. Worse, it might happen again at any time, in any jurisdiction. India is not special, and github is not special.

The Software-as-a-Service proponents always argue “but you have a service level agreement and if your service provider does not perform, you sue them” but in this case, that is clearly completely irrelevant. Centralization makes it possible to seize things; even if what’s being seized is 99.99999% unrelated.

The obvious remedy: don’t put any business-critical data any place that you don’t control, or where it could become collateral damage. (Side note: the ubiquitous move from http to https — something to be welcomed — actually makes collateral damage larger because more fine-grained blocking becomes impossible with https.)

Back to bug fixing for UBOS. There’s a reason why putting users back in control is important, and now we know it matters for business users, too.