SRINAGAR: A brief flicker of internet appeared in the neighbourhood of the Civil Secretariat recently, but was quickly snuffed out by the secretariat staff who changed the password of their Wi-Fi connection.
Activity had picked up unusually in the secretariat’s neighbourhood, with boys being seen huddled at several places with phones in their hands. The suspicion led to the discovery of a “leak”: the password of the Wi-Fi network had become public knowledge.
While officials are tightlipped about how this leak happened, a change of the password and other security settings has been made. The internet connection of this nerve-centre of governance is supervised by the Jammu & Kashmir National Informatics Centre, which also manages the website of the General Administration Department.
The secretariat’s Wi-Fi network, like of all government establishments, is protected by a password that only the staff of the informatics centre know.
“The passwords have been changed after the leak was noticed,” said one of the officials at the secretariat who did not want to be named. Faisal Ahmad, a resident of the neighbourhood, said that scores of youth could be seen in Sutra Sahi, Batamaloo and Shaheed Gunj areas who were accessing internet using the secretariat’s Wi-Fi. “People somehow came to know of this password to use the Wi-Fi service clandestinely,” Faisal said. But now the youth are returning disappointed, he rued. The government on July 9 barred mobile internet services after the killing of Burhan Wani. Only Government of India-owned BSNL and some private service providers are able to provide internet through their broadband cables.
In times of this internet blockade, many broadband users have allowed their neighbours to access internet through their Wi-Fi connection. Ayaz Ahmad, a resident of Pampore, said that his neighbour allows him to use his Wi-Fi.
Last month, a Saudi scholar issued a fatwa against using another person’s Wi-Fi without permission, as theft cannot be tolerated in Islam.
Ali Al Hakami, a member of a senior Saudi religious body, said that taking advantage of the Wi-Fi service illegally or without the knowledge of the owner or providers was not allowed by Islam.