No more WhatsApp, Twitter, FB in J&K: Telcos update firewall to curb VPNs

GR News Dek | Srinagar

Telecom companies have been successful in curbing the access of social media sites in Jammu and Kashmir using Virtual Private Networks (VPN). People in the valley will not be able to access Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp anymore as telcos—Airtel, Jio, and others have successfully installed firewalls restricting access to VPNs on their network.

According to news Agency KNO, after the authorities in Kashmir restored 2G services, people downloaded VPNs on their mobile phones to access social media. However, as the government restricted access and reduced network speed from 4G to 2G there has been a surge in the use of VPN applications.

The Union government allowed access to just 482 “whitelisted” websites nearly six months after stripping internet services in the newly formed union territory. The popular social media sites like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and others remain inaccessible.

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Since August last year, internet, mobile phone, and landline services in Jammu and Kashmir have been shut down after the government’s decision of abrogation of Article 370.

A netizen said, “WhatsApp is not only a social media app but also used by a large number of Kashmiris to stay connected with friends, relatives.”

Director-General of Police (J&K), Dilbagh Singh had recently stated that VPNs were being misused by the militants and had urged the private telecom companies to walk the extra mile to ensure that VPNs are blocked. “It took us a two weeks to establish a firewall and finally we succeeded,” an official in the Jio Company said.

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  • Wahid Bhat

    Wahid Bhat is an environmental journalist with a passion for covering climate change and environmental issues. He holds a degree in English Journalism (EJ) from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and has received Media Fellow for NFI India (National Foundation for India) and Thomson Reuters Foundation. Wahid's reporting has been published in a range of respected outlets including Earth Journalism, Global Village Space, The Quint, Youth Ki Awaaz, and Devdiscourse

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