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Social media ban lifted in J&K after 7 months but internet speed to remain at 2G

The J&K administration, however, reiterates that existing restrictions on mobile data services will remain.

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration Wednesday lifted the official ban on blacklisted websites, which included all social media platforms, after a gap of over seven months. 

The government also lifted curbs put in place on fixed-line internet services. They had remained blocked since 5 August as part of the communications blackout enforced by authorities ahead of Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370.

The administration had restored telephone and mobile phone services across J&K in a phase-wise manner. The internet was restored in January when the UT government announced a list of over 300 websites that could be accessed at 2G speeds. 

Since January, however, the administration also white-listed or made accessible around 1,600 websites. 

Wednesday’s order issued by the Home Department of the J&K administration, however, stated that internet speed will continue to be restricted to 2G. 

The order does not include the list of white-listed websites, which essentially means restrictions on all websites including social media has been lifted,” a senior government official said. 

Also read: ‘How do we turn away gun-wielding men?’ Pulwama woman asks after arrest of daughter, husband

Internet restriction on pre-paid phones to remain: Administration 

The J&K administration also reiterated that the existing restrictions on mobile data services will remain. “While the postpaid sim cards shall continue to be provided access to the internet, these services shall not be made available to pre-paid sim cards unless verified as per norms applicable for postpaid connections,” the order said.  

The order also said that Internet connectivity on broadband services “shall continue to be made available with mac binding”. This essentially means that only designated computers or laptops will have access to fixed-line connections.

 The authorisation process will be conducted by internet service providers.

ThePrint had Tuesday reported that authorities in J&K had engaged the United States-based tech giant Cisco solutions to provide expertise on a firewall that would allow the government to restrict the use of internet, especially social media websites. This was confirmed to ThePrint by multiple senior government officials.

 Cisco, however, issued a statement denying blocking social media websites in Kashmir.

 “Cisco denies reports from India regarding Cisco involvement in restricting access to social media websites. Cisco strongly supports free expression and open communication on the Internet, and our policies and practices are well-established in this area,” its statement read. “We build our products to comply with global standards and sell our products globally. We do not customise our products in any way to enable censorship.”

Despite the statement, government sources Wednesday maintained that Cisco was being engaged to build the firewall.

A source in the administration told ThePrint, “It seems that people from the company (Cisco) were not able to complete the work. They have communicated the same to the concerned officials”. 

ThePrint subsequently sent a detailed questionnaire to the Cisco Solutions spokesperson Wednesday. This copy will be updated once ThePrint receives an official response. 

Also read: CISF takes charge of Jammu, Srinagar airport security, move rushed after J&K cop arrest


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  1. Had the government of India shown same courage as in Kashmir and arrested the Congress politicians, there would not have been Shaheen Bagh and Delhi riots.

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