Internet clamp-downs no key to stop criminal activities: IAMAI

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New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Objecting to the Jammu and Kashmir government order to clamp down on social media and instant messaging apps, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Friday said internet clamp-down is not the key solution to criminal activities.

The IT industry organisation said the focus of the law enforcing agencies should be on engaging with alternate modes of communication used for criminal activities rather than a “blanket ban”.

“Internet clamp-down, according to IAMAI, does not solve the problem it sets out to solve, but in turn creates other societal problems. Shutting down channels of communication during law and order crisis only heightens the state of paranoia amongst the citizens,” it said in a statement.

“Elements engaging in nefarious activities continue to access other channels of communication, irrespective of the shutdown, and the focus of the law enforcing agencies should be to engage with these modes of communication, rather than to order a blanket ban.”

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The statement pointed out that internet clamp-downs have become a regular feature of executive diktat and as per records, there have been 73 instances of internet blockage between 2012 and 2017, with 32 in Jammu and Kashmir alone.

“Medium of communication via internet can be used by law enforcing agencies to communicate their messages more effectively during crisis. There are numerous instances of internet communication proving to be effective in disaster management, both in India and abroad,” IAMAI stated.

According to the IT industry association, internet shutdown is not justified under any situation.

“Denying people internet access affects their right to freedom of expression, access to basic amenities like medical assistance, and information in emergency situations. Also, often a person’s inability to freely communicate in a riot-like situation can cost her or his life,” the statement added.

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