Monday, 25 October 2010 was not accessible with my ISP

I have been using a home broadband connection which is considered quite reliable in my part of the world. Unfortunately "" and all "" affiliate sites stopped responding three days earlier. I had alternate connectivity (and still do.) I have another box running Linux on which I run pdnsd for dns resolution and caching. I also run squid as my proxy server on that box. I found that (despite accurate DNS lookup) did not respond on this machine for http and https access. I noticed that several other google sites like orkut also did not respond. However facebook does, bing,, digitalriver, steam, xbox-live,, in no specific order respond fine.

The issue persisted after I renewed my PPPoE connectivity several times. I finally reached out to a google server meant for australia using the IP address and adding entries in my pdnsd.conf file (which is a terrible idea.) I finally received a ping response and was able to connect. The only possible explanation is that a route cache stored on a router either provided or used by my ISP is stale and incorrect.

The experience however helped me realise in a scary predicament. I have been using only one e-mail id personally for years although I pay for an alternate account with another service provider. Blocking me out of my e-mail communication made me realize that the centralized e-mail account or e-mail accounts from only one company create a single point of failure. Creating a google offline cache is not always a viable option as reliability of personal data storage needs to be on par or better than the service provider (which is difficult.) I had meeting schedules, shared documents and other content linked to one google account accessible through one google server. From a user/consumer's point-of-view this is not always reliable. I use a BlackBerry phone and their services have come under threat of government censure or disconnect for information disclosure for homeland security.

On the commercial side, ISPs and Network Service Providers of any kind do provide clear quality of service terms to their clients. In the event of any service outage they should be able to fix it or be answerable to damages arising due to denial of service. This already exists for services provided to the corporate sector. The individual SO/HO user is yet to benefit from stringent quality control measures. The ISPs are answerable to the government authorities for disclosure of user information without objections at any time. The government (of India, among many other nations) has passed laws to get user access information and personal access information under the argument that the social security of the people is served. It is only fitting therefore that the people receive uncensored information as a reserved right. Blocking of one site or route by an ISP can be censorship or a security-response. But this must be clearly reflected and informed to the users.