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The beginnings of the Great Firewall of India?

The unintended consequence of the Supreme Court's order on Internet Shutdowns in Kashmir — where it put down accountability norms for Internet shutdowns, and said that some essential websites should be accessible, is that it has given rise to the creation of the Great Indian Firewall: filters that control what users can and cannot access online. It has started with Kashmir. ISPs have been asked to install a firewall and white-list certain websites: Shaleen Kabra, the Principal Secretary in the Home Department of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in an order, has said that internet service providers (ISPs) will have to install "necessary firewalls and carry out 'white-listing' of sites that would enable access to Government websites, and websites dealing with essential services, e-banking, etc, excluding, however, access to all social media sites". In addition, Kabra adds that "2G mobile connectivity on post paid mobiles for accessing white-listed sites, including e-banking shall be allowed, to begin with, in the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi". VPNs are also being completely banned. This isn't as sophisticated as the Great Firewall of China, but it is the first step in that direction. The Great Firewall of China is believed to have blacklists for certain websites, content and keywords, and some whitelists, but also has block-lists. VPNs are banned, but some work. There's more that the Chinese government does to enable blocking of content. A few points to consider 1. This legitimizes the establishment of blocking infrastructure and its use by…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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