After being inaccessible for many users in India since July 1, DuckDuckGo has resumed normal service in the country. While the exact details of what caused the search engine to become unreachable are nebulous, we've seen reports citing censorship by the Indian government and DNS lookup errors as potential culprits.
We’re seeing our services being broadly restored in India. Thank you for all of your reports, bringing attention to this issue.— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) July 4, 2020
If you're still having trouble accessing DuckDuckGo Search, please report it to @internetfreedom using this form: https://t.co/jVYFgXTiV7
On Saturday, a spokesperson for DuckDuckGo emailed The Verge stating that “We have contacted the Indian government but have not yet received a response. We are bewildered on why the Indian government would instruct Indian ISPs to block DuckDuckGo, but are optimistic that this will be resolved soon.”
The spokesperson comments come at a time when censorship in India has been strong, especially in recent weeks. Near the end of June, the country banned 59 Chinese apps due to diplomatic tensions on the border in the wake of a military confrontation over a stretch of the Himalayan border that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
India's neighbor Pakistan has also been making headlines with its censorship. On Wednesday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) decided to temporarily suspend PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), stating that it had received numerous complaints about the addictive nature of the game. Likewise, the country has been cracking down on unregistered virtual private networks (VPNs) "to promote legal ICT services/business in Pakistan and safety of telecom users” as well.
However, as stated before, whether the privacy-oriented DuckDuckGo's outage was caused by government censorship remains to be seen.