This US firm is reportedly helping Kashmir govt block social media apps | HT Tech

This US firm is reportedly helping Kashmir govt block social media apps

A report states that Cisco’s solution will help authorities block social media apps even after the partial internet ban is lifted, which is expected to happen soon.

By: HT CORRESPONDENT
| Updated on: Mar 04 2020, 14:38 IST
In this Jan. 30, 2020, photo, a Kashmiri man browses the internet on his mobile phone outside a shop in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Six months after India stripped restive Kashmir of its semi-autonomy, enforcing a total communications blackout, it has restored limited internet at slow speeds with access only to government-approved websites. Since Modi came into power in 2014, the internet has been suspended more than 365 times in India, according to the global digital rights group Access Now. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
In this Jan. 30, 2020, photo, a Kashmiri man browses the internet on his mobile phone outside a shop in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Six months after India stripped restive Kashmir of its semi-autonomy, enforcing a total communications blackout, it has restored limited internet at slow speeds with access only to government-approved websites. Since Modi came into power in 2014, the internet has been suspended more than 365 times in India, according to the global digital rights group Access Now. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) (AP)

Kashmir has been facing internet shutdown for months now. Starting January this year, state authorities allowed people in the region access to 2G internet. However, this access was rolled out in phases covering 165, 301 and 1,485 sites at a time. Social media sites were all banned from these lists.

On February 17, Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a complaint against people using social media via VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).  

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J&K cops also made an appeal asking people to not use VPN apps.

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Now, a report filed by The Print notes that US firm Cisco is helping the Kashmir government develop a firewall to block social media apps in the region.

The report states that Cisco's solution will help authorities block social media apps even after the partial internet ban is lifted, which is expected to happen soon. J&K administration has brought Cisco in to prevent fixed-line internet users from accessing social media websites.

Also Read: Kashmir police have filed a case against people using VPN, social media

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," The Print report states.

The official source also mentioned that Cisco employees in the Indian branches are currently in Kashmir to "build a stopgap arrangement" and local authorities will "soon be purchasing firewall technologies" from Cisco.

A senior government official told The Print that authorities are testing a solution to sustain the ban of blacklisted sites:

"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."

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First Published Date: 04 Mar, 14:30 IST
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