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dmcdev : kashmir   25

Internet shutdowns 'not justified' in coronavirus outbreak
"Internet shutdowns cannot be justified at a time when access to information is critical to containing the deadly coronavirus pandemic, human rights groups have warned. The outbreak has infected more than 245,000 people worldwide and the death toll now exceeds 10,000, according to a Reuters tally. 'Internet access is critical at a time of crisis,' David Kaye, United Nations special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said in a statement. 'Especially at a time of emergency, broad restrictions on access to the internet cannot be justified on public order or national security grounds.'" - Rina Chandran and Emeline Wuilbercq, Reuters

+ RSF: India: Kashmir’s blocked Internet could be deadly during coronavirus pandemic

+ The International Press Institute is tracking press freedom violations worldwide related to Covid-19:

+ Fortify Rights: Myanmar: Lift Internet Restrictions to Protect Public Health
otf  shutdown  access  blackout  coronavirus  kashmir  press  media 
yesterday by dmcdev
Mitigate risks of Covid-19 for Jammu and Kashmir by immediately restoring full access to internet services
"In wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir must restore full access to internet services in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and ensure that people have full access to health and safety related information, said Amnesty International India [last week]...'There is a growing anxiety around the pandemic and unwarranted restrictions on content and dissemination of information only stands to add to the panic,' said Avinash Kumar, Executive Director of Amnesty International India. 'Complete shutdowns or restricting of internet speed or access makes it difficult for people to navigate their way through a difficult time further undermining their trust in the authorities. The Government of India needs to adopt a rights-respecting approach to protect public health and restore access to 4G speed internet.'" - Amnesty International
otf  kashmir  india  coronavirus  censorship  access  shutdown  blackout  asia  southasia 
4 days ago by dmcdev
or maybe you want to learn more about a specific location. e.g. , where there's an ongoing Internet shutdow…
9 days ago by dmcdev
8 Million People Can’t Get News About The Coronavirus Because Their Government Is Slowing Down The Internet
"More than 8 million people who live in Kashmir, the disputed region between India and Pakistan, are unable to depend on the internet to get reliable information about the coronavirus pandemic, work from home, or attend classes online...A new government order, which was released Tuesday, has extended the region’s existing restrictions on internet speed until March 26 to 'prevent misuse of social media applications' and following 'recent terror activities' in the region. But locals said that the restrictions on internet speed are unacceptable at a time when access to timely and reliable information about the coronavirus is crucial.

'I can’t open even basic websites that provide information and advice about the pandemic,' Nayeem Rather, a freelance writer based in Srinagar, the largest city in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, told BuzzFeed News. 'Most people in Kashmir don’t really have any information about the coronavirus or what is going on in the world right now. It’s a crisis.'" - Pravav Dixit, BuzzFeed News
otf  kashmir  india  shutdown  access  blackout  asia  southasia  coronavirus 
9 days ago by dmcdev
Asia’s internet shutdowns are a violation of human rights
"Last month, Myanmar announced it was — again — shutting down mobile data services in one of the country’s most conflict-affected regions. Across the border in Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have lived without internet access in sprawling and overcrowded camps for months. In India’s Kashmir, the world record for a state internet shutdown in a democracy was broken in December. Taken together, all these point to a stark trend across the Asia-Pacific region, where governments are increasingly relying on internet shutdowns to control free speech...Instead of looking for new ways to control and restrict what is said online, governments across Asia should take a cue from civil society and look to champion free speech. The 'Asian century' should be built on openness and debate — not repression and control." - Binaifer Nowrojee, Asia Pacific regional director for the Open Society Foundations, for Financial Times
otf  shutdown  blackout  access  asia  myanmar  Rohingya  india  kashmir  southasia  SoutheastAsia  SEAsia 
11 days ago by dmcdev
We Asked Kashmiris To Tell Us What Living Through A Seven-Month Internet Shutdown Was Like. They Had Lots To Say.
"When the government of Jammu and Kashmir, the region disputed between India and Pakistan, finally allowed the valley’s 7 million residents back online for the first time since August 2019, BuzzFeed News asked them to write to us and tell us, in their own words, what it was like. We received nearly a hundred submissions from Kashmiris who were finally able to access the internet and let us know how they truly felt. Here’s what they said." - Pranav Dixit, BuzzFeed News. Here's a few quotes from Kashmiri residents:

"This is what the totalitarian face of the world’s largest democracy looks like under the surface."

"I was planning to apply for a PhD to a university abroad, but I couldn’t finish my research and missed application deadlines."

"Sometimes, I would dream. In my dreams, the internet would be back, and I’d be on cloud nine."

"I felt like I was in a virtual jail."

"For me, every day of the last seven months has been filled with rage and anxiety."
otf  india  kashmir  shutdown  access  southasia  asia  blackout 
15 days ago by dmcdev
India restores full internet access in Kashmir for 2 weeks
"Indian authorities on Wednesday temporarily revoked a ban on social media sites and restored full internet access in disputed Kashmir for two weeks, seven months after they stripped the restive region of its statehood and semi-autonomy and enforced a total communications blackout. Internet access over mobile devices, however, will remain restricted to slow speed. The restoration of the internet will remain in effect till March 17, a government order said. It gave no explanation of the time limit. A recent Supreme Court order had said the internet ban could not be indefinite. The order issued by the region’s home secretary, Shaleen Kabra, said internet access over fixed lines will be restricted to registered customers." - Aijaz Hussain, AP

+ Cisco denied reports that it is helping the Indian government "to build software to prevent Kashmiris from accessing social media websites in the region," BuzzFeed News reports.
otf  india  kashmir  shutdown  access  blackout  southasia  asia  cisco 
22 days ago by dmcdev
In Kashmir, a spree of arrests for alleged ‘misuse’ of social media and VPNs
"In Kashmir, there has been a surge of interest in VPN applications after the government allowed limited access to 329 websites in January, after six months of a complete internet shutdown. Keen to clamp down on VPN use, the security forces first resorted to physical checks of smartphones, as multiple Kashmir residents told Then, on February 17, the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s cyber wing filed a first information report on the alleged 'misuse of social media' through VPNs. The FIR invoked the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code against unknown persons.

According to police officials, there have been no arrests directly under the cyber police’s FIR. But it has kicked into motion several arrests under FIRs filed at the district level. tracked down at least five cases of arrest since February 17, all for social media and VPN use." - Safwat Zargar,

+ Quartz reports on how some Kashmiris have fallen prey to sketchy VPNs in attempting to circumvent the blocks, resulting in lost photos and breached social media accounts.
otf  kashmir  vpn  circumvention  social  india  southasia  asia  access  shutdown  blackout 
26 days ago by dmcdev
Kashmir’s Internet Has Been Cut Off For Almost Seven Months, The Longest Blackout In History
"On August 5, India’s government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir a measure of autonomy. The government split the state, a region disputed between India and Pakistan, into two territories. Supporters of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party hailed the move, while Kashmiris, many of whom want to see Kashmir join Pakistan or become independent, were angered. To prevent public opposition from turning into open rebellion, India’s government detained Kashmiri politicians, arrested thousands of activists and academics, and imposed a complete communications blackout. Overnight, mobile phones and landlines stopped working, broadband lines were frozen, and text messaging stopped. Over the last six months, the government has relaxed some of these restrictions: Landline phones came back after five weeks, and in December, people who had postpaid mobile connections found they could make calls again. Last month, texting was allowed again, and eventually large swathes of Kashmir were able to access, at glacial speeds, a few hundred government-approved websites — which excluded social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and messaging apps like WhatsApp. The lockdown continues despite India’s Supreme Court in January deeming “indefinite” suspension of internet services illegal.

'This internet shutdown is a human rights violation,' said Irfan Mehraj, a researcher at the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a federation of human rights organizations in Kashmir that releases an annual report of Kashmir’s human rights situation each year. 'It’s to break the will of the Kashmiri people.'" - Pranav Dixit, BuzzFeed News
otf  india  kashmir  shutdown  access  asia  southasia 
4 weeks ago by dmcdev
Indian police open case against Kashmir social media users
"Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have registered a case against unidentified internet users who employed virtual private networks, or VPNs, to circumvent a social media ban in the disputed region, police said Tuesday, in an apparent effort to stop their use. Police said they misused social media 'to propagate a secessionist ideology and promote unlawful activities.'

'Hundreds of suspected misusers have been identified and are being probed,' said Tahir Ashraf, who heads the police cyber division in Srinagar, the region’s main city. Police said in a statement Monday that they have seized 'a lot of incriminating material,' adding that the accused could be charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which also allows the government to designate individuals as 'terrorists.' Police officials questioned several users about their social media posts. However, no formal arrests have been made." - Sheikh Saaliq, AP

+ "While surveillance technology has proliferated in India over the last decade, institutional and legal safeguards have not kept pace. The Indian Parliament has yet to enact a data protection law, and the courts have failed to adequately grapple with the ethical and constitutional challenges posed by invasive new technologies. The Indian public, for its part, has largely shrugged off the steady creep of the surveillance state, which now collects huge amounts of data in a legal and judicial vacuum—and at times in open defiance of the law and judicial orders.

"India’s neighbor to the north, China, looms large in international media as an Orwellian state, with its expanding use of facial recognition technology and invasive data collection practices. By contrast, India is often portrayed as a chaotic democracy, its government far weaker and less capable than the fine-tuned autocracy in Beijing. That image belies the changing reality in India, where the government’s embrace of powerful new surveillance technologies increasingly threatens the rights of its people."

- via Foreign Affairs: India’s Growing Surveillance State
otf  kindia  kashmir  vpn  circumvention  social  access  asia  southasia 
5 weeks ago by dmcdev
India keeps lid on Kashmir's internet 6 months into lockdown
"Six months after India’s government stripped restive Kashmir of its semi-autonomy and enforced a total communications blackout, it is heralding the restoration of limited, slow-speed internet as a step toward normalcy. But for the Himalayan region’s 7 million people, the reality is far different. They are only allowed to access government-approved websites. Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter remain blocked. And while users can access YouTube and Netflix, the internet service is too slow to stream video.

Some Kashmiris are evading censors by using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which are widely employed globally to access restricted websites, but Indian authorities are looking for ways to clamp down on those, too. 'Frankly, let’s call it what it is: It’s still an internet shutdown and a blanket censorship of the internet,' said Nikhil Pahwa, a New Delhi-based digital rights activist. 'Can you imagine this being done to Delhi?'" - Aijaz Hussain and Sheikh Saaliq, AP
otf  india  kashmir  shutdown  blackout  access  censorship  asia  southasia 
6 weeks ago by dmcdev
Kashmir journalists accuse Indian police of muzzling press
"Journalists in disputed Kashmir urged the Indian government on Monday to allow them to report freely and expressed concern about alleged police harassment since the region’s semi-autonomy was rescinded in August amid an unprecedented lockdown. The Kashmir Press Club, an elected body of journalists in the region, said security agencies were using physical attacks, threats and summons to intimidate journalists. The group said the government should 'ensure freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed in the constitution instead of muzzling the press'...It also criticized restrictions on the internet and surveillance by police, calling them 'tools designed and aimed to ensure only the government-promoted version is heard.'" - AP

+ "In Kashmir, there has been a surge in interest in VPN applications after the government recently allowed access to only 329 'whitelisted' websites after nearly six months of internet shutdown. The government has not explained why access was restored to such a limited number of websites. With many popular social media sites not being included on the government’s whitelist, Kashmiris have turned to VPN applications to get around the restrictions. In South Kashmir, this has given rise to a new kind of tension between civilians and the army. According to residents in several Kulgam villages, army personnel allegedly check the phones of youth for VPN apps. If such apps are found, the youth are allegedly thrashed." via Safwat Zargar, ‘VPN for terrorism’: In Kashmir, youth allege their phones are checked by the army for masking apps
otf  india  kashmir  conflict  access  shutdown  press  media  asia  southasia 
6 weeks ago by dmcdev
What do we know about the 'Great Firewall of India'?
"After five months of complete internet shutdown in the federally-administered Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, only partial internet access has been restored after the interference of the Indian Supreme Court on January 10, which called the shutdown 'unconstitutional'’.'Freedom of internet access is a fundamental right', said Justice N. V. Ramana who was a part of the bench that gave this verdict. This shutdown marks the longest ever internet shutdown in any democracy around the world, and is viewed by experts as a potential signal of the rise of the ‘'Great Firewall of India'’. The term 'great firewall' is used to refer to the set of legislative and technical tools deployed by the Chinese government to control information online, including by blocking access to foreign services and preventing politically sensitive content from entering the domestic network.

"While the Chinese firewall has evolved as a very sophisticated internet censorship infrastructure, the Indian one is yet to get organized into a large-scale and complex structure. India's tactics to control information online include banning entire websites and services, shutting down networks and pressuring social media content to remove content on vague grounds." - Subhashish Panigrahi, Global Voices Advox
otf  india  shutdown  access  kashmir  china  asia  southasia  gfw  censorship 
6 weeks ago by dmcdev
India partially lifts internet block in Kashmir
"The Indian government partially revoked its internet shutdown within Jammu and Kashmir over the weekend, allowing people in the union territory to regain internet access to around 300 websites. The partial lift brings an end to a full-blown internet shutdown that had lasted for almost six months. Since August last year, internet, mobile phone, and landline services in Jammu and Kashmir were suspended after the government came to the decision to remove the union territory's partial autonomy...With the official whitelist [PDF], the Home Department expanded the number of accessible websites to 301. Among the whitelisted websites include content platforms, like Netflix and Spotify, as well as international news outlets such as BBC, the New York Times, and Washington Post. " - Campbell Kwan, ZDNet

+ "Why would the government make us see only what it wants us to see? What is it afraid of? Why do I not have the freedom to browse whatever I wish to, on the internet? In this day and age, are you going to tell me not to use Facebook and WhatsApp, and then expect me to gracefully abide?" via Vice: Social Media is Still Banned in Kashmir, But VPNs Come to the Rescue

+ "“One of the reasons why India has so many shutdowns is that the institutional framework enables them...It is a framework where local officials have very broad discretion to order shutdowns." - Jan Rydzak, a research analyst at Ranking Digital Rights in IEEE Spectrum: How India, the World's Largest Democracy, Shuts Down the Internet
otf  india  shutdown  blackout  kashmir  southasia  asia  access  vpn  circumvention 
8 weeks ago by dmcdev
Kashmir blackout eases but restrictions remain
"Mobile internet and social media remain largely blocked in Indian-administered Kashmir, despite a partial easing of curbs imposed when the government revoked its special status in August. Limited broadband service returned to the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, while 2G mobile coverage resumed in parts of Hindu-majority Jammu...The government's move restores a handful of broadband connections to 'institutions dealing with essential services' such as banks, hospitals and government offices and these will be heavily monitored. A government notice explicitly stated that access to social media sites or 'peer-to-peer' messaging services like WhatsApp would not be restored. Furthermore, internet service providers will be expected to install firewalls to prevent access to sites other than specific "white-listed" ones such as government websites." - BBC News
otf  india  kashmir  blackout  shutdown  access  southasia  asia 
10 weeks ago by dmcdev
Overload on train to Kashmir's internet oasis
"Every day the train to Kashmir's remote cyber oasis Banihal is packed as people travel for hours to get online in the disputed region where internet has been cut for five months. The mountain town of fewer than 4,000 people has six internet cafes, which are booming due to a security clampdown by the Indian government. 'The speed is very slow,' admitted Irfan, manager of one of the cafes where customers pay up to 3,000 rupees ($40) an hour to link their laptop to the snail's-pace broadband. 'Scores of Kashmiris, mostly students and income tax professionals, come visiting every day,' said Irfan, who only gave one name. In early August New Delhi made a sudden move to axe Kashmir's semi-autonomous status, shutting down communications and sending tens of thousands of extra troops into what was already one of the world's most militarised zones. While phone calls and very limited text messages are now possible, the internet is still down." - AFP

+ "Indian mobile operators are losing around 24.5 million rupees ($350,000) in revenue every hour they are forced to suspend internet services on government orders to control protests against a new citizenship law, a top lobby group said[.]" via Reuters: India's internet shutdowns costing mobile carriers millions of rupees in lost revenue

+ Quartz: Over 4,000 hours of internet shutdowns cost India more than $1.3 billion in 2019
otf  india  shutdown  kashmir  access  blackout  asia  southasia 
11 weeks ago by dmcdev
India’s Internet shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in a democracy
"Each morning at 8:15 a.m., a train pulls out of the station in the Kashmiri capital of Srinagar. Hundreds of passengers cram the cars for the 70-mile journey, packed so tightly they can barely move. Nearly all will return the same day. Kashmiris call the train the Internet Express. It shuttles people out of the Kashmir Valley — where India has shut down access to the Internet for more than four months — to the nearest town where they can get online. On a recent foggy morning, it was full of people hoping to renew driver’s licenses, apply for passports, fill out admissions forms and check email. They included 16-year-old Khushboo Yaqoob, who was rushing to register for a medical school exam. 'If I had any other option, I wouldn’t be here,' she said. The shutdown, which entered its 134th day Monday, is now the longest ever imposed in a democracy, according to Access Now, an international advocacy group that tracks Internet suspensions. Only authoritarian regimes such as China and Myanmar have cut off the Internet for longer." - Niha Masih, Shams Irfan and Joanna Slater, Washington Post
otf  india  shutdown  blackout  asia  southasia  access  kashmir 
december 2019 by dmcdev
India Is the World’s Leader in Internet Shutdowns – Foreign Policy
India's status as the world leader in Internet shutdowns has been highlighted after the Internet was cut off in Kashmir, following the Indian government's announcement that it planned to revoke the region's autonomous status: "Mobile and broadband services were shut down in India-administered Kashmir over the weekend, preceding an announcement by the Indian government to strip the region of its limited autonomy. There is precedent for the government’s move: Internet service was suspended 53 times in the Jammu and Kashmir region so far this year...the number of shutdowns in Jammu and Kashmir more than doubled each year from 2015 to 2018—and is on track to increase once again this year. Thanks in large part to Kashmir, the region with the most shutdowns, India has suspended the internet around the country 159 times in the past three years...India recorded more internet shutdowns between January 2016 and June 2018 than Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia, and Iran combined." - C.K. Hickey, Foreign Policy
otf  india  shutdown  access  blackout  kashmir  jammu  southasia 
august 2019 by dmcdev
India mulls blocking WhatsApp calls in Kashmir – inspired by social media censorship in the Gulf
India is considering blocking WhatsApp's VoIP calling functionality in the Jammu and Kashmir state, as the app (along with Facebook) are blamed for the dissemination of "anti-India" content, Indian news site reports, citing an earlier report by The Economic Times. In a meeting where the potential ban was discussed, examples of Gulf countries banning such technologies was cited as a precedent for the move.

Rayan Naqash writes for Scroll: "[A] ban on voice and video calls over WhatsApp was discussed at a meeting in Delhi attended by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, top officials of the telecom department and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and officers from security agencies and the Jammu and Kashmir Police...Citing the case of the United Arab Emirates as 'one of the best examples' of social media censorship, the official said such measures would help improve the security situation in the Valley...Internet blackouts in Kashmir – some limited to a certain area and some spanning the Valley – have become routine and frequent...With 72 internet shutdowns since 2012, Kashmir accounts for half of the internet outages in India, according to a tracker maintained by the Delhi-based non-profit Software Freedom Law Centre...In April 2017, the state government banned 22 social media platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp, for a month, citing misuse by 'anti-national elements and anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages, in various forms'. Though many circumvented the ban through virtual private networks, these remained unreliable as they were free services that often stopped working abruptly."
otf  india  whatsapp  voip  access  censorship  kashmir 
june 2018 by dmcdev
WhatsApp warriors on the new frontline of Kashmir’s conflict
The role of technology and social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook, in the the ongoing Kashmir conflict, during which social media sites and the internet itself have been shut down multiple times in recent years. Article by Michael Safi for The Guardian.
otf  kashmir  india  southasia  whatsapp 
july 2017 by dmcdev
The personal cost of internet shutdowns - stories from Kashmir collected by @davidakaye
UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of Opinion & Expression David Kaye collects stories from the current internet shutdown in Kashmir, hearing from social media users how the censorship event is affecting their lives. Among the anecdotes: "i am using VPN to access internet,if u want to knw hw it was in stone age, come to kashmir,u will get to experience it"; "No network access in Kashmir...Complete ban on social media... Tweeting frm outside kashmir"; "It is a usual thing in Kashmir now. They banned Internet 31 times from 2012. In 2016 they banned it for at least 6 months." Many more stories from affected users available at the link above.
otf  kashmir  india  shutdown  access  circumvention  blackout  social 
may 2017 by dmcdev
Kashmir residents circumvent government-imposed social media bans
Kashmir residents use VPNs and other technologies to bypass censored social media sites, and adopt other means to access banned information: "The Jammu & Kashmir government’s order earlier this week to ban at least 22 social media websites and applications, including popular Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Skype, Telegram and Viber, is also bringing back another retro word from the Soviet bloc era — Samizdat, a kind of dissident activity to avoid censorship by reproducing underground publications and passing them on." - Hakeem Irfan, Economic Times
otf  india  kashmir  social  circumvention  censorship  access 
may 2017 by dmcdev
Kashmir: Where ‘Digital India’ Ends
There has been no mobile internet in Indian-administered Kashmir for nearly two months. What would be a disaster for most Americans has become the mundane reality for millions of Kashmiris.

The Indian government closed off mobile web access in response to violent protests that followed the death of a local militant commander in a gun battle with the Indian military in early July. Dozens of people have been killed. The forced absence of online social networks, alongside the usual curfews, has made it more difficult for people to spread information and organize protests. Newspapers in Kashmir are calling it an “e-curfew.” - Global Voices Advocacy
otf  kashmir  india  access  censorship 
september 2016 by dmcdev
Two Months of Internet Blackouts Have Taken a Toll on Kashmir | Motherboard
In a region already complicated by geography and turbulence, the impact of telecom blackouts is significant. “There is no getting around the fact that cutting mobile links [and internet] affects flow of information, from basic human contact to people facing health issues, to the injured—and there are thousands—not being able to reach families,” said Najeeb Mubarki, a journalist in Kashmir. - Ankita Rao, Motherboard
otf  kashmir  india  pakistan  conflict  access  blackout  media  censorship  ICT 
august 2016 by dmcdev
Netizen Report: What do Zimbabwe, Kashmir, and Turkey Have in Common? Internet Censorship.
Zimbabwe: #ShutdownZim protests spark WhatsApp shutdown; Kashmiris report total suspension of Internet and mobile amid unrest; Turkey’s coup attempt sees a 50% drop in Internet traffic; Iranian leaders are not so sure about Pokemon, but might stop blocking Twitter; and more, from Global Voices
otf  netizenreport  censorship  access  awareness  privacy  security  zimbabwe  whatsapp  kashmir  turkey  iran  twitter  social 
july 2016 by dmcdev

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