Criticising the Indian government’s decision to block 14 apps in Jammu and Kashmir, digital rights group SFLC.in asked officials to revoke this decision and make the orders related to this ban public. These apps were banned under Section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act), which is supposed to be used for specific conditions, like to protect India’s sovereignty, integrity, defence, security of the State, etc. According to The Hindu, the Ministry of Home Affairs recommended banning of the apps, claiming that terrorist organisations in the region have been using these platforms. These apps include Threema, Briar, Element, Zangi, Crypviser, BChat, Wickr Me, Mediafire, and Nandbox among others. Many of these apps use an end-to-end encryption system to protect user privacy. As per the report, officials had also considered banning Snapchat but ultimately decided against it. However, the bigger issue cited by the rights group is the lack of transparency regarding the rationale for such a move on the government’s side. It warned, “Such decisions could have far-reaching consequences for India's free flow of information and freedom of expression…It is crucial that such decisions are taken in a transparent and accountable manner, with due regard for the principles of natural justice.” Why it matters: While anti-social elements may have been using some of these apps for communication, the blanket ban affects many residents who have been using the apps for legitimate reasons. Such bans on messaging apps will further stifle the free speech in a region that…
Make the order banning 14 apps in Jammu and Kashmir public: SFLC.in
The apps were banned under Section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act), used to protect India’s sovereignty, integrity, defence, security of the State, etc.
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