September 25, 2023


Networking, Computer, PBX, IT, DIY Solution

India bans open-source instant messaging app on security grounds

3 min read

India bans open-source instant messaging app on security grounds


India bans open-source instant messaging app on security grounds.

The Indian government banned 14 messaging apps, including some open-source software, on national security grounds.

The blocked apps are Wickrme, Mediafire, Briar, BChat, Nandbox, Conion, IMO, Element, Second line, Zangi, Threema, Crypviser, Enigma, and Safeswiss.


According to local media , citing government sources, the move was made on the advice of India’s home ministry, which believed the apps were being used by terrorists and supporters in the Jammu and Kashmir region, where India and Pakistan have a territorial dispute .

Hostile forces may use the apps to plan attacks, but authorities cannot intercept their conversations. “These apps have no representation in India and cannot be contacted for information as required by Indian law.”


Sources noted that 15 mobile apps were initially proposed for banning; this included a top Messenger mobile app, but only 14 apps were subsequently taken action. These applications are currently blocked under Section 69A of India’s Information Technology Act, 2000.


In this regard, the Indian free software community raised objections. And pointed out that FOSS mainly relies on decentralized collaboration, and disabling related software because of “no representation” is a somewhat absurd position.

There appears to be a lack of understanding on the part of the government about how these P2P software and federated applications work. These applications are critical to communication during disasters and are often used as a communication medium in the workplace. “


India bans open-source instant messaging app on security grounds



The community believes that this ban will not achieve India’s purpose, because hostile forces can use more anonymous applications to replace it.

On the contrary, they believe that the use of free software such as Element and Briar should be promoted ; and for example, Element has been accepted by the governments of France , Germany and Sweden.

Moreover, it is not difficult to obtain the source code of FOSS projects, so this ban may only be in vain and cannot be an effective means of law enforcement.


It’s worth noting that the Briar project just blogged a few days ago detailing its work on building a mesh network from Android devices during an internet outage — information can continue to flow even when the internet is down.


“When an Android device thinks its internet connection isn’t working, either because of a captive portal or because some Google domains aren’t reachable, apps on the device are still able to connect to IP addresses that are still reachable, and the device can still resolve other domains DNS queries for .

While various parts of the UI indicate that the system believes the Wi-Fi connection is offline, the system does not appear to be blocking any traffic because of this assessment.


This is great news for our project: it means that even if global internet access is blocked, it should still be possible to communicate with other devices on a local network or a subset of internet countries.

While other mechanisms may still affect the ability to form a mesh network, the Android OS itself doesn’t seem to be getting in our way. “




India bans open-source instant messaging app on security grounds


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