With Virtual Private Network (VPN) coming to the rescue of internet junkies to access all the social networking sites government banned a week ago, the security apparatus is left high and dry, as they seemingly are not able to bar the access to these sites.
The search for VPNs started as soon as the government restored 3G and 4G services in valley, after days of internet blockade. Before restoring data services, the state government’s Home department issued an order to ban the operations of 22 social networking sites that included Facebook and much-in-news application, Whatsapp.
“I can access all the social networking sites with the help of numerous VPN applications available on the internet,” said a college student, wishing not to be named.
VPN provides a user with an access to the remote servers based in foreign countries like USA, France, England and Canada. The VPN Applications allow the user to access networks based in these countries, and in turn the user can access all the sites that are blocked from these remote servers. In a way, it can be said that the internet junkies virtually travel to different countries of the world in order to access the banned websites.
“It is like you travel to a different country and access these sites from there. Do you think there will be any mechanism in place to stop that? A person sitting in a living room in Srinagar is getting connected to a network present in some foreign country and is accessing all the sites that are banned in the state,” said Umar Bashir, a network expert.
As per technical experts, there is no mechanism in place that can tackle the access issues created due to VPN service. “The government can do one thing and that is the blocking of platforms that are providing these VPNs, that too is hectic, given the enormous number of such platforms available on World Wide Web,” experts said.
The government order regarding the ban on selected sites issued on 26th April, 2017 stated that “the step was taken to make sure that no ‘objectionable,’ ‘inflammatory,’ and ‘unverified’ content, being transmitted on social networking sites.”
However, the government’s idea and purpose behind banning selected websites seems not to be working at the present moment, as people are still able to access Facebook and Whatsapp.
Moreover, it is to be seen whether the ‘elements,’ as termed in the govt ban order as ‘subversive,’ will still be able to transmit the content that is, as per the order ‘objectionable,’ ‘inflammatory,’ and ‘unverified,’ on social networking sites accessed through VPNs or not.