Govt seeks help of American company to block social media in J&K
Jammu & Kashmir

Govt seeks help of American company to block social media in J&K

Agency News

Srinagar, Mar 3 : The administration of Jammu and Kashmir has sought help from an American company to block social media in the newly created Union Territory (UT), where people were currently using VPN apps to access these sites on 2G mobile network.

The Jammu and Kashmir police last month lodged an FIR against locals for using social media platforms on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Official sources told UNI that the UT administration has approached an American company, Cisco Systems, for completely blocking social media sites, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, in J&K. 'Cisco develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment and other high-technology services and products,' they added.

The development comes in the backdrop of people accessing social media sites, despite a ban by the administration, through VPN apps in J&K, where high speed internet and broadband service remained suspended since August 5. Mobile internet and broadband service of all Cellular companies was suspended in the Kashmir valley on August 5, 2019, when the Centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A besides dividing the state into two Union Territories (UTs).

However, 2G mobile internet service was resumed on January 25 while high speed internet and broadband remained suspended. The social media sites also remained banned and the government had directed people to assess only white listed sites. J&K police chief Dilbag Singh last month asserted that the Union Territory administration and security forces were well aware about people using VPN apps to access social media sites despite a ban by Home department, saying police was currently concerting on miscreants who are misusing Facebook and WhatsApp to spread rumours in the valley.

The DGP also made an appeal to the general public not to use social media via VPN apps. 'Our main priority is the deal with people who are misusing social media and spreading rumours. Our second priority is to deal with the rest of the people who are accessing social media through VPN despite a ban. Currently we are concentrating only on the first priority,' Mr Singh said.

It was in the last week of August that landlines were restored to subscribers connected with Barzulla and Sonawar telephone exchanges. Landlines phones of subscribers, including all media organizations, from main BSNL telephone exchange were restored only on September 5. Meanwhile, the post-paid mobile phone service was restored on October 14 while the SMS service for BSNL started from December 31 midnight in the valley, where the pre-paid mobile service was on January 19 restored after remaining suspended for 168 days. (UNI)