11 Indian states shutdown Internet Services 37 times since 2015

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Internet shutdowns have become a disturbingly commonplace occurrence. Mobile Internet services have been suspended in Kashmir for the past 87 days. As per the research, in 2012, there was only one incident of ICT shutdown (three including the Republic and Independence days).

The Jammu & Kashmir government blocked telecom services in order to prevent users from uploading or downloading the film Innocence of Muslims. This is a rare instance of a shutdown in which the government order is publicly available. Most of the Internet shutdowns have been seen without any procedural transparency.

Internet shutdowns have been seen as the intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable for a specific population or within a location, often to exert control over the flow of information. These disruptions occur with increasing frequency, which results in influencing the rights and interests of technology sector investors, companies, and customers worldwide.

In 2014, Jammu & Kashmir blocked ICT services four times (including on Republic Day and Independence Day). Internet Services have also been shut down in Gujarat once because of circulation of an image which was considered offensive to Islam.

Jammu & Kashmir has been suspending mobile Internet on the Republic and Independence Days since 2005, with Republic Day 2015 being an exception. In 2013 there were three instances of ICT shutdowns (four including Republic Day) – all in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. There has been a sharp increase in both the frequency and duration of ICT shutdowns in the past two years.

Mobile Internet services were suspended in five districts in Kashmir in April  due to protests over the death of 4 people in clashes with the security forces. In September 2015, Jammu and Kashmir had suspended Internet services for two days following apprehensions of violence in the state in light of the beef ban in the state. The government had issued a notification asking all internet service providers to close 3G, 2G, GPRS, lease line and broadband services on September 25 and 26 to keep things under control.

Suspension of services in Kashmir takes place with regularity and immunity, and is barely noticed and to make it controllable, someone approached and raised this issue with Supreme Court.

Involvement in internet shutdowns raises financial and reputation concerns for information and communication technology (ICT) companies and their investors. These disruptions occur with increasing frequency, threatening the rights and interests of technology sector investors, companies, and customers worldwide.

According to research, it has been found that 11 Indian states have shutdown the Internet 37 times since 2015 with 22 of those instances in the first nine months of 2016.



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