India's ministry of telecommunications ordered internet service providers to block the websites of cab-hailing apps like Uber and Ola because they have been operating in Delhi despite a ban on their operations.
However, it is unlikely that the order will be followed. Turns out that service providers simply do not have the ability to block these sites because they have a higher level of encryption.
"We can only block http sites and not the https sites as the latter have higher encryption codes," Rajesh Chharia, the president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India.
And in any case, the order said nothing about blocking apps of Uber or Ola, the primary way through which customers book cabs. So even if it were possible to block the sites, their business would have still run smoothly.
The order to block the websites was received by the ISPs on Tuesday. "All the Internet service licences are accordingly directed to immediately block the access to the URLs," the DoT order had said.
As of Friday morning websites of both companies were still working. There was no response from spokespersons of Uber and Ola to HuffPost's emails.
The Delhi government considers Uber and Ola not as taxi-hailing apps but unlicensed radio cabs and had asked them to apply for licenses. Both companies applied, but have not received approval yet because they do not have the systems in place to be radio cabs, a completely different business model.
Uber has expanded rapidly in India, which is now its second largest market in terms of cities covered outside the United States. It ran into trouble in December in New Delhi when a woman passenger alleged she was raped by the driver of a Uber cab. The trial is in progress.