Indian government, assisted by Internet service providers, has just issued a new warning to those who visit forbidden websites in India: the offenders may get a three-year jail sentence plus a fine of Rs 3 lakh ($4,465 USD).
If the warning starts to be actually employed to punish the offenders, almost every Internet user in India could become a criminal. Thousands of websites are currently blocked in the country, and the new warning implies that one doesn¹t have to even download a copyrighted material simply accessing a banned website could result in the penalty.
Banned websites include 857 new sites include Vimeo, Weebly and Github, many of which have nothing to do with torrent downloads, but possibly contain pornographic content.
At the same time, simply banning torrenting sites a move that has been strongly lobbied by Bollywood filmmakers is another violation of Internet freedom. Bollywood lawyers choose the websites to be banned without any clear criteria or reasons and courts usually approve them. Secondly, torrent websites are used for various purposes: such as distributing data by corporations or uploading content for fans if you are an independent artist.
The threat of new punishments for accessing forbidden sites can turn India into one of the biggest markets for VPN (Virtual Private Network) service providers in the world. A VPN links a user¹s computer to a server in a country of their choice via encrypted tunnel for example, a person can appear to be in the U.S., while they actually are in India, and vice versa, simply by choosing a different VPN server location. Therefore, a user can choose to access the banned sites through a country where these sites are allowed.
NordVPN, a VPN provider that gives access to over 550 servers around the world and provides military-grade security, is a strong supporter of Internet freedom. It is not clear if the current law will be enforced, but its existence shows that government can decide to implement punishments at any time, which is a direct violation of freedom of speech.
NordVPN does not keep any logs and uses very powerful encryption to route its users¹ online data. This way users can protect themselves from data tracking or cyber attacks and maintain their anonymity on the internet whether they¹re using a PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or any other device that requires an Internet connection. Also, NordVPN has released a number of new apps that are very easy to use – just turn press the ON button – and choose a server of the country you want to connect to.
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