If you live in Kashmir, then you might know that the internet has become a major concern for many of the netizens in the region. This is due to the fact that the Indian government has been blocking the access of certain websites from being accessed by the people living in the state. Although the situation might be a little frustrating, there are ways to keep yourself out of trouble. One of these ways is by using a VPN app. There are several apps out there that you can choose from, and choosing the right one can be crucial.
Internet security has been a major issue for Kashmiri netizens. This has been because of the harassment by hackers through anonymous video calls and messages. They have been requesting money in lieu of morphed videos. The problem has been heightened by the shutdown of the internet.
Last month, the Indian government claimed that social media posts by three journalists were thought crimes. Interestingly, the statements also showed a common pattern of accusation. Moreover, the press releases were vague on the definition of the threat to national security.
Among the accusations against the journalists were glorification of terrorism, "commission of offences" against the state and promoting anti-India sentiments. These assertions drew outrage both within India and globally.
The police statements showed that the Indian government was using subtler methods to intimidate the media. However, the actions drew international outrage, with global organisations such as the BBC citing the "criminalisation" of journalism.
One year ago, the Government of India unilaterally removed the semi-autonomous status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time, the ruling dispensation shut all communications except for mobile phones.
In April, the Mehbooba Mufti led PDP-BJP government banned 22 social networking sites. Although the authorities were trying to keep a check on separatist elements, the ban came in the form of a flimsy argument. Similarly, a photojournalist was banned from reporting at a site near the Srinagar airport.
Meanwhile, the IT department of the Kashmir University was caught napping in its attempt to protect data of students and employees. Hackers on the Dark Web allegedly stole the personal information of one million+ University employees.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has argued that the Internet is used by anti-national elements to spread propaganda and spread propoganda, which threaten the national interest of the state. It cites this as a reason for the partial shutdown of the internet in the region. However, it is not clear how the government will decide which websites should be allowed to be used by the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir region.
Several groups have taken legal action against the Indian government over the partial shutdown of the internet in the Jammu and Kashmir region. These groups argue that the Indian government's actions are in violation of the country's net neutrality laws, which prohibit differential access to the Internet.
The Foundation for Media Professionals, a local civil society group, filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India to challenge the government's blocking of the internet in the state. They claim that the shutdown is in violation of the fundamental rights of the people of Kashmir.
A report released by the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) has found that the government has selectively blocked Web sites. This is done under the guise of security. Researchers have also found that the majority of the URLs on the blocklist are not common across ISPs.
According to the CIS report, the Indian government has selectively blocked sites for various reasons. One of the reasons is the concern about the spread of material supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Various groups, including the CIA, have reportedly provided the government with information about sites with material that promoted ISIS propaganda.
VPNs are a popular technology that provide users with an encrypted way to access censored sites and applications, as well as a means of hiding their online activity from surveillance. Depending on the level of encryption, VPNs can also conceal the user's true location and originating IP address, making them a useful tool for activists or those living in censored nations.
However, it is important to note that VPNs are not perfect guards against nation-state level surveillance. It is possible to use insecure network connections to spy on users or even to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.
A number of companies have put in place creative warrant canaries to deter malicious activity. Another measure, the bug bounty program, encourages security researchers to report vulnerabilities.
Several academic studies have pointed out the security flaws in some VPN services. One example is the Hola VPN. Some of these flaws are not easily fixed.
The parliamentary standing committee is looking into the matter. It has asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MoEIT) to consult with cybersecurity experts and VPN companies. In the mean time, it has requested a transparent report on government requests for data.
As for the best practices for a successful vpn app, it would be a good idea to do your homework before you download any app. Research the ratings and read reviews of VPN apps before you sign up. And be sure to check for the most important feature: privacy.
Lastly, make sure you check with your provider about their policies and procedures before you sign up for their service. If they can't answer your questions, you might want to find another VPN service.
If you want to avoid being blocked in Kashmir, you should install multiple VPN apps. These tools are popular for protecting your privacy and bypassing geo-blocking. In addition, VPN apps can provide you with backup options.
While the Indian government has imposed various restrictions on social media sites and other Internet services, they have yet to ban VPN applications. The government's failure to block these tools is a cause for alarm for residents of the Valley.
Since the restoration of 2G in the Valley, demand for VPN applications has risen. Residents can find ways to download them. Some users can get the apps through mobile-to-mobile sharing, while others can download them directly from Google Drive or Dropbox.
Kashmir's cyber police are investigating how users have used messaging and social networking networks to propagate fake secessionist propaganda. It has identified 100 users who have been using social media to distribute messages.
Besides social media, the government has blacklisted news websites, blogs, and other websites. They claim that these sites are being used by the Pakistan army, anti-national elements, and other organizations.
While a lot of users in Kashmir use free VPNs, it is possible that the government is able to detect them. To avoid detection, it's best to use a paid VPN service.
Aside from VPNs, there are many other methods that you can use to stay untraced. Most of these methods aren't as obvious as the government's blocking of VPN apps. You may have to try different tricks before finding a workable solution.
However, there are also some free services that offer excellent privacy. These include Astrill and UFO VPN.