Telegram and SoundCloud Banned by Reliance Jio in India

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After Porn, Telegram And SoundCloud have been Banned By Reliance Jio. India is the third-largest consumer of online pornography in the world. The country attempted to ban porn in 2015 but was forced to lift it soon after following a mass outcry. But reliance Jio banned more than 800 porn websites in October 2018 after a rape accused admitted that he watched explicit videos before raping an underage student. Despite the ban, Indians accessed porn websites using proxy servers, VPNs and private DNS. So, Jio banned such services too.

Since Indians came up with easy ways to bypass the ban, including services such as proxy resolvers, private DNS, torrents, or VPNs, one of the major telecom operators – Reliance Jio – turned to block such services. But not just porn, proxy sites, or VPN, Reliance Jio has also been accused of blocking access to services such as Soundcloud as well as Telegram‘s website.

Out of the 135 complaints reported to IFF, a majority(85) of plaintiffs reported the ban on Jio network while 41 users reported that the websites are inaccessible from Airtel as well. The remaining complainants belonged to ISPs like ACT Fibernet and Hathaway.

IFF curated this list of 135 complaints and lodged an RTI (Right To Information) to Department of Telecom about the banning of popular sites and services. In response to the RTI, the department cited secrecy provisions behind the ban. IFF remarked that blocking the platforms for messaging and entertainment was an attack on the Right to Information and a violation of net neutrality rules in India.

IFF is requesting all Indians facing such issues, especially with sites like Soundcloud and Telegram, to come forward and add to the existing data. The group has also raised the issue with India’s telecom regulator TRAI and the DoT, but these complaints have been unheard due to the small number of complaints, which seems insignificant in front of India’s half-a-billion-strong internet user base.

Source: Internet Freedom Foundation

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