Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2G restoration in Jammu, broadband in Kashmir for essential services

Straight Line News Network

Jammu, Jan 15: After reviewing the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Department issued directions for 2G internet restoration on post-paid mobiles in 4 districts of Jammu as well as broadband internet restoration in Kashmir for essential services.

According to the three-page order, from Wednesday, the 2G mobile connectivity on post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed websites including e-banking will be opened in the Jammu, Samba, Kathua, and Reasi districts of the Jammu region.

Mobile internet connectivity in other districts of the Union Territory shall remain suspended till further directions, the order stated.

The administration will also allow broadband internet facilities on “white-listed websites” in hospitals, banks, government offices, hotels, educational institutions, and tourism companies in Kashmir.

The order also said that 400 additional internet kiosks will be established in the Kashmir division. The order by the Jammu and Kashmir administration comes days after the Supreme Court directed it to review all the restrictions in the Union Territory.

“Internet service providers will offer broadband facility (with Mac binding) to all institutions dealing with essential services, hospitals, banks as also government offices,” the order said. Mac Binding means to enforce a client machine to work from a particular Internet Protocol address. The order says that there will be a complete restriction on social media applications allowing peer to peer communication and virtual private network applications for the time being.

“The Institutions and Government offices that are being provided internet access shall be responsible to prevent any misuse, for which they shall take all necessary precautions, including appointment of nodal officers, keeping a record of persons/devices, managing and monitoring day-to-day usage, changing accessibility credentials on a daily basis and ensure internet availability to authorized users only,” the order said.

Unless modified, these orders shall be in force for a period of seven days.

“The misuse of data-services by anti-national elements which has the potential to cause large scale violence and disturb public order” as well as ‘intelligence inputs about sustained efforts of terrorists to infiltrate across the border, re-activate their cadres and scale-up anti-national activities in Kashmir division and some affected areas of Jammu division, by communicating effectively through VOIP and encrypted mobile communication through various social media applications” have been listed out as the cause of internet shutdown in J&K in the order.

On 10 January, the apex court held that access to the internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution.

The bench also held that internet shutdowns cannot be ordered to suppress speech unless there is incitement to violence or similar reasons. “Reasonableness of Section 144 orders must be assessed based on territorial reach, nature of restrictions and time period.”

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