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In late 2018, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notified Reliance Jio, Airtel and other top carriers to block sites to more than 800 port websites on their network owing to the police report of an anti-social element's confession of porn addiction as a reason for raping an innocent child. After the ban, there was a spike in the installation of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps. Apparently, people circumvented the porn website ban using VPN and after some time, several popular proxy websites were also blocked.

Now, reports are emerging that Reliance Jio and Airtel are denying access to web-portals of popular messaging and multimedia apps particularly Telegram and SoundCloud in India, reported net neutrality advocacy group, Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF).

Telegram, SoundCloud, ban, India, Reliance Jio, Airtel
Reliance Jio, Airtel bans Telegram, SoundCloud web portals in IndiaInternet Freedom Foundation (IFF)/Twitter

IFF has received several complaints over the past several weeks and recently, it filed a Right To Information (RTI) application to Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and in reply, it cited secrecy provisions under the Blocking Rules to ban Telegram and SoundCloud.

This is seen as an attack on Internet freedom, but since very few, only 135 odd people, have complained to IFF, the latter is urging more people to participate, so that it can draw attention from government to revoke the ban on Telegram and SoundCloud.

Telegram app
Telegram AppWikimedia Commons

It can be noted that an exactly a year back, Apple had pulled Telegram out of App Store, as it was used by paedophiles to circulate child pornography. Only after making changes to the encryption and also adopting tools to identify vile content on Telegram, it was allowed back on App Store within a few months.

Even in India, the Kerala Polic had arrested 24-year-old KSharaff Ali, a Master of Computer Application (MCA) graduate for circulating child abuse contents on the Telegram app in late 2017.

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