The apps blocked by the government include Crypviser, Enigma, Safeswiss, Wickrme, Mediafire, Briar, BChat, Nandbox, Conion, IMO, Element, Second line, Zangi, Threema among others.
How are they blocking or banning these apps?
I think they use DNS blocking, they request ISPs to block certain domains like threema.ch, wickr.com, etc… And then they will request Google and Apple to remove these apps from their store in India.
DNS Blocking is something I have not experienced. From what I have read this is something you can get around a few ways including proxy and VPN.
I’m from India and I assure that the situation is getting worse here, first they banned VPNs ( Actually, they made it mandatory to keep logs give it’s access to the Government that indirectly lead all the trustable VPN companies to withdraw their businesses from India that realistically means they took away the rights of the people to use VPN as a VPN) and now they’re banning every chat service that they don’t have access to interfere and impose surveillance to. Their reasons are stupid, like people are sharing criminal information through encrypted and kinda anonymous apps so let’s ban them. It’s all a part of leading the country towards being the greatest flawed democracy in the world. Soon enough we’ll be equivalent to China or Russia in terms of online freedom and digital rights.
Thanks for sharing real life experience. I see this happening globally.
Oddly neither Signal nor WhatsApp were on that list of newly banned messenger apps. Have they already pulled out of India due to the previous anti-encryption laws that led to VPN providers leaving?
Both of them are being used here in India, Govt. said that they are only banning apps that are used by terrorists to share info this goes on to show that even terrorists don’t believe in Whatsapp.
Interestingly they have only banned element which means nothing you can still use matrix with other clients.
One more thing about banning things in India is that our courts say that if anything is banned (in terms of Software or information) then it’s the work of authorities to ensure no one can access that info so that means that even if you still use these apps nothing can happen to you from a legal point of view(realistically on one is even going to file a case.) this is considering that you are not involving in activities of terror groups.
we don’t have good privacy laws here in India this is an issue. Plus Media also has a part to play I remember when that “Bulli bai” thing took place India Media houses were portraying as if everyone who uses proton mail is a hacker
for those who don’t know In India i think a year ago there was a case where some lunatic made an app that was apparently selling women of specific religion. (it was not exactly selling but was portraying to do so i mean could have been a bad joke that didn’t turn out so well) so that person who was developer was using proton mail an every media house was saying that proton is a service used by “hackers” to remains anonymous.
I am now a bit afraid of using tor browser, even tho I am not doing any illegal things using tor, they could come and say you’re accessing dark web and illegal things using tor!! Just because they can’t track me on tor and can’t have surveillance on me!!! BTW I am from India too.
And surprisingly, they haven’t banned Session messenger yet! If the encryption and anonymity are their problems then Session would be on the top of the list. Also I can still find all the banned apps in playstore (without using VPN or tor)
I think because signal ,whatsapp and telegram also used by a large number of people in india compared to element and others. So i think goverment didn’t ban signal and whatsapp because it will effect a big number of people and can cause public backlash .
Well there is no reason to be afraid the law will protect you if you have done nothing illegal.
I have even seen a case when an Indian was found with propaganda material against India but the court said only having propaganda material does not make you a terrorist and you cannot be convicted only on basis of having propaganda material.
Wow, so the policy is even more arbitrary than it appeared at first.
Thank you for the additional information, I hope things can turn around on the privacy front eventually.
It doesn’t say anything about signal getting banned?
No,because govt. does not see Signal as an app that terrorists use
here it’s more widely used as compared to something like Briar.
You wouldn’t want to ban something you use…
This is what we should expect from a government who banned VLC without a reason. Removing apps from playstore or apple store can’t impose a public ban we could still use Fdroid or download from their website. Indian Government intentionally or unintentionally don’t force these bans as most ISP’s haven’t blocked their domain. We shouldn’t compare these situations to china as these bans are not forced, even it is forced malicious actor’s could still use TOR, if even it is banned we could use TOR circuit or I2P. The logic used by Indian Government is hilarious that these client’s are being used by terrorists, they could even use this logic to ban TOR or any service over internet. Spreading propaganda to kashmir isn’t the case as kashmir mostly face Internet Censorship.
The failure to successfully block these services could justify spending on India’s own Great Firewall. The ban of Chinese apps and software developers is going to utilize a large chunk of money that is budgeted for the War on Terrorism.
On the individual state level some states have made a list of banned apps and software developers on state owned devices. Of course state employees all carry two phones, like my mom says you look like a drug dealer carrying multiple phones. IMO most of these employees work activities are malicious. I have no idea how the individual states are hoping to block these apps on their devices.
Like our War on Drugs we can not keep drugs out of prisons. We probably can not keep Chinese apps out of American devices with out spending a lot of tax payers money.
Yes you are right here. And also @octodi is right too. These apps arent forcefully banned. I can still find all the banned apps on playstore. I dont know what Gov’s plans are, because if they wanted to ban those seriously, they might have imposed ban even through ISP which has been done in past for many websites and all and apps removed from playstore and apple app store. Probably they were not so serious about the ban. Another thing is, they say that they have banned these apps because they were being used by terrorists to exchange information beyond borders and THOSE APPS HAVE NO REPRESENTATIVES IN OUR COUNTRY, so they can not ask for them to provide information about those suspicious activities under Indian Law. Thats why they banned them. I think probably back in 2018 or 19, Gov made rule that facebook and google and other such companies must have representatives in India, and they would have to comply to law and order whenever required. Probably so it has something to do with that representative thing too.