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We do not have data on internet shutdowns: Ministry of Communications in Parliament

Despite the ministry's response, the last two years have seen a trend in internet shutdowns, especially amidst the farmers' protests that took place across the country.  The Indian government does not maintain data on internet shutdowns in the country since police and public order are subjects of the State, the Ministry of Communications informed the Lok Sabha in response to a parliamentary question. The question was submitted by Congress Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi. Why it matters? At a time when the internet is such an intrinsic part of citizens’ lives, a shutdown in connectivity, either due to political reasons or as a security measure, causes a massive disruption and can be termed as a curb on freedom of expression. These issues have been debated heavily ever since communication services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, 2019, a day before the Indian Parliament abrogated Article 370 that accorded special status to the state. 4G services were restored in parts of the Union Territory, nearly a year after it was suspended. Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said, "Police and public order are State subjects as per seventh schedule of the Constitution and States are responsible and empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet service to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed that records pertaining to…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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