India relaxes Jammu and Kashmir internet blackout

India relaxes Jammu and Kashmir internet blackout

Indian authorities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) are easing the restrictions to internet access in the Union Territory that have been in place since last year.

In August 2019, the Indian government revoked the special status granted to the territory, provoking unrest which resulted in an enforced blackout of internet and telecom services on the premise of protecting public order and safety.

Mobile access was restored in October, and since then additional restrictions have been lifted in stages, with residents unable to access the internet until January 2020, when the Supreme Court ruled that India’s constitution considers online access a fundamental right.

Even following the ruling, access was tightly restricted with only white-listed sites available. Additionally, internet speeds were throttled and only certain technologies were usable. The restrictions were originally set to be lifted after a week but the government postponed this multiple times.

The latest concession now permits users to access the internet using 2G mobile data and fixed line connections, although connection speeds will be limited. Access to social media platforms has also been restored.

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