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Alternatives to Internet shutdowns

On 6th December 2016, MediaNama had held a discussion in Delhi, on issues related to Internet Shutdowns, with support from Facebook and STAR India . The following are notes based on these discussions. Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. Internet shutdowns are often deployed without a full assessment of the damage that can be done, and are often executed within a legal framework that was created long before the Internet even existed. So what can authorities do instead of shutting down the Internet, that can still accomplish their goals of managing communal outbursts and limit the proliferation of misinformation and fake news? - Restricting impact: Ajay Kumar, a high-ranking Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), said: "There will always be a response to whatever action any government authority will take. And then you have to react to that. In a law in order situation you cannot always expect that just because you have done something, everyone will be quiet. You do a bandobast and the people will try to go around it if they want to do something. The issue is: if there is a new situation developing like FireChat [a peer-to-peer chat app that Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters used] or something, you have to then deal with that. If at a given point of time given a situation, the person responsible for that work has come to a conclusion based on his best information and understanding that this is the only way by which he can deal with this situation, he…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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