Latest News on Governance | theprint.in
Representational image of social networks | pxhere
Text Size:

Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir administration has engaged US-based multinational software firm Cisco Systems to prevent fixed-line internet users from accessing social media websites, ThePrint has learnt.

The step is seen as a precursor to the removal of restrictions on fixed-line broadband connections in the Valley, but indicates that social media will continue to stay off-limits for local residents even when internet connectivity is restored.

Internet services in the Valley have been restricted since last August, when Jammu & Kashmir was stripped of its special status and divided into two union territories.

In January, the restrictions were partially eased, with users allowed 2G mobile internet and broadband for 1,500 entities, including those providing essential services such as hospitals. 

However, users are only allowed to access 1,600 websites. Social media remains prohibited owing to law and order concerns, but local residents have intermittently accessed these websites through virtual private networks (VPNs).

The punishingly slow speeds of 2G inhibit the use of VPNs, but there are fears that their use may widen once fixed-line internet is restored. 

According to official sources, Cisco Systems will help the administration build a firewall that will prevent internet users in Kashmir from accessing blacklisted websites, including social media portals, through fixed-line connections.

Employees from the firm’s India branches, the sources said, are currently in Kashmir to build a stopgap arrangement. Local authorities, the officials added, will soon be purchasing firewall technologies from the firm to keep the social media bar in place.

“We are currently testing the temporary stopgap arrangement… and (analysing) if the ban on blacklisted websites is sustainable. This will be followed by purchasing the firewall,” a senior government official said.


Also Read: Internet not fully restored, but J&K Police to connect with people on social media


Internet users left at sea

In light of the social media bar, Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar made an appeal to local residents last month that they should not use VPNs. 

According to a senior police officer, internet service providers were subsequently directed to block VPNs, but, in absence of stronger firewalls, people were able to access updated VPNs or those that had not been blocked.

Internet users in the Valley say the to and fro continued until last week, when they noticed 2G speeds slowing further and rendering VPNs inaccessible. 

Khursheed Ahmed, who plans to study abroad, had been using a VPN to access websites of foreign universities. “I would use social media, too, but most of the time I would use the internet to surf the websites of foreign universities. Now, not only can I not use VPNs to do that, the 2G speed has come down so much that I can’t even access my emails on the phone. I had applied in some places and I can’t check the responses,” said Ahmed.

Faheem Bhat, who owned a small software solutions firm, now finds himself forced into a career change. He is now working towards opening a medical shop. “At least that will give me some stability,” Bhat said.

“The current internet speed is as good as having no internet at all,” said Yasmeen, another Srinagar resident.


Also Read: How Kashmir internet shutdown has hit Valley industries hard


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

27 Comments Share Your Views

27 COMMENTS

  1. What is our mistake 😭😭
    Why internet is ban🇮🇳🇮🇳
    We are also indians 🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳
    We have right to use internet 🔥🔥🔥

  2. I respected government’s decision of banning internet way back 8 months. But even after the situation here was under control they didn’t restore it even today they claim they restored 2g services but it is of no use…can’t even access websites properly…forget about you tube…we the students are the worst sufferers …. i humbly request the administration to restore internet wholely

  3. I do nt know why Muslims are always on the other side of the fence.why each and every country majority populace has problems with them .there is something wrong somewhere .the muslims either they r moderates or jihadist should bring there heads together and find out a solution to there pro lems

  4. All the world know about the agenda of muslims is only they should exist in each and every country. Rest are not humans so vipe them of the planet Muslims demands are for muslims only not for the other communities That is the trouble with this, why this minority should rise above all others. Allah said in koran, is the only point produced that muslims want this muslims want that. Kindly consider ( you molbies) God made all equal PREACHING LIES TO PROVE MUSLIM SUPREMACY WILL END IN DISASTER FOR ALL. Proof is AL- KAIDA, DYING…….

  5. what a shit?? Seriously, Now a days I felt that we don,t have a right to freedom, we live under a autocratic govt. oh god, please do something 😭😭

    • At least give us the proper education sites i am a neet aspirant i need these website
      No.of them are indeed present in white list but are not opening plzz think of those students which can’t afford tution plzz….

      Its basic human right!

  6. Modi is waiter how can he understand what nation needs and how can he control critical situations he is criminal
    see in Kashmir its been 7 months since we used internet we are also human beings we have also feelings then why to play with our emotions why to have brutality on us

    • Why do you need internet. You will survive without internet as you did before there was internet.Rear the ne s papers. If internet is used for mischief mongers ,rumour spreading & hate mongering, it needs to be stopped in the interest of peace and the nation

  7. As usual no morals if there is financial gain then immoral deeds are tolerated.US firm CISCO helping India to deny freedom to Kashmiris. USA land of freedom and liberty ?

  8. The most hatred P.M. i have seen is Modi .He has no humanity left.He should know ,in kashmir here are humans.We the people of kashmir have suffered a lot of problems due to Modi gov.We have not recieved the proper education from last few years (from that time when modi gov. is made) .

  9. The most hatred P.M. i have seen is Modi .He has no humanity left.He should know ,in kashmir here are humans.We the people of kashmir have suffered a lot of problems due to Modi gov.We have not recieved the proper education from last few years (from that time when modi gov. is made) . Modi wanted to see Kashmiri people with no education .The most dirty minded person we all have seen in our life.

  10. The occupation doesn’t last long. India occupation forces will try utmost but freedom is nature. So India can not tame human nature. Pakistan either cannot!

  11. You seem to be very wise but at the same time fake person. If you are wise then you will quit India and settle somewhere else. But most probably you are fake and won’t go anywhere.

  12. First they came for the Muslims, I said very good they are J*hadis. Then they came for the Dalits, I barely even noticed. When they came for the women, I said good, education leads to divorce. Then when they came for me – there was no one and no social media left to protest on.

    • First they said leave Saudi Arabia as at here was a message from God, then the Gulf. Then Anglo Saxons continued the myth of our support against Germans , turning them against us and worst atrocities were committed against us. Then instead of settling us back in Christian lands genocide was used to settle us back in Gulf and but till now we are asked to leave the Gulf as those who initially asked us to leave have not received another message from God. Only country where we were not asked to Leave was India and Hindus never asked us to change, leave or modify. Not one of thousands of Hindu Gods turn against us .

      • So you are talking about Jews now why don’t you support Bernie Sanders then he is also a Jew you call him Dog if you are so concerned about Jews then stop taking remittances from Saudi and 100b investments in solidarity with Jews…

    • Bravo Meeraben. We are becoming frighteningly like China and Pakistan, ironically 2 countries we are at loggerheads with.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here