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Indian police open case against hundreds in Kashmir for using VPN (techcrunch.com)
329 points by jmsflknr on Feb 18, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 232 comments

As a young tech person in India, this stuff makes me so angry. The ruling party here (BJP) doesn't have any real competition. Which means they can get away with pretty much anything.

They've banned VPNs. They'll chuck you in prison if you speak against the government or a politician. Then they'll brand you as an "anti-nationalist" and openly say to their supporters that you deserve to be shot.

Facial recognition is now being used to identify protestors. Bots and deepfakes are being used to spread propoganda.

Many people are upset, but there's nothing we can do. We can't speak out without fear of being reprimanded. We can vote for other parties, but there's no way that they'll ever win. The majority of the population has blind faith in BJP. The only demographic that appears to realise the implications well enough is the youth in urban areas - a very insignificant fraction of the nation's population.

Even the media is afraid to speak out against BJP because if they do then they get attacked by physical and virtual mobs.

It's a shame. So much potential.

This comment has so many factual inaccuracies. 1. Vote share for BJP in urban areas have been consistent with rural areas in the most recent national election of 2019. Source: Official website of election commission of India 2. There are multiple celebrity status people (including journalists, students, politicians) and common people openly complaining against government on Twitter and in public forums and they are all free and continue to do so without the fear of being arrested. Examples: Ravish Kumar, Barkha Dutt, Shehla Rashid, Shashi Tharoor, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Kanhaiya Kumar and countless more. 3. Ruling party has a very strong competition at state level. In India, police report to states (except Delhi) so in general, states have much more power to control law and order than central govt. BJP has lost recent assembly elections spectacularly in Delhi and some other states. 4. People always have reasons to be upset. When J&K was an independent state the people in Jammu and Ladakh were upset because of the corruption, lawlessness and rampant terrorism about which local govt. biased in favor of Kashmir region didn't do anything. Then, Kashmiris were holding Ladakh and Jammu folks hostage.

There is no way that anyone other than BJP will win the election on the national level anytime soon. Congress and Rahul Gandhi is a joke, they've fucked our nation over too much to win again.

AAP doesn't have a lot of support outside of Delhi and a couple other states, and the same can be said for all other regional parties. None of them can step up to and beat BJP. It's the unfortunate truth.

The police shoot at and kill protestors with no mercy. They will not face any repercussions. A case from just 2018: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoothukudi_massacre

The nation is dying.

The Thoothukudi case is for the State Government Police to handle. How is Modi responsible for it? Just because you have an alliance partner doesn't mean that BJP becomes party to it or ordered it. This is what happens when you indulge in hyperbole. It just weakens your own arguments.

He did not even acknowledge the death of 13 people getting shot(including a higher secondary school girl) in the protest against a corporation. As a Prime Minister of a country this is the least expected .

No it's not expected. This is a State issue. If that was the case who acknowledged the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits? Who acknowledged the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 riots triggered by the Congress party? No one. So don't give your sob story. The Prime Minister is not responsible for the dereliction of duty by the State Government. Hold the State Government responsible! Modi is not responsible for everything under the Sun.

Forest Rights Act is now applicable to J and K as Union Territory yet people in Jammu are against implementing it as it would give Gujjars and Bakerwals harvesting rights. Whose dereliction of duty is that? I’ll bet they move faster on cow slaughter.


This comment is not full of factual inaccuracies. In-fact it doesn't cover the length and breadth of the atrocities happening in India. To cite some examples:

- Kanhaiya Kumar (cited above), hundreds of students and even 10 year olds have sedition cases against them.

- The competition has been decimated. BJP spends 3X more than all of the other parties combined together in Elections

- Section 144 (prohibiting assembly of 4 or more people) has been arbitrarily applied across India.

- Free press has been demolished and right wing mouthpieces are both propped up and given a free run. False cases against The Hindu, NDTV, Hostile takeover of CNN-IBN etc.. I can cite a dozen more examples

- BJP losing state elections mean noting. Modi's role model is Xi. He wants to be benovalent dictator of life.

- State sponsored violence in India is the norm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq-HQ7boPvE

It is factually inaccurate. VPNs are running all across India except in Kashmir. Stop this hyperbole. You can fool some people some of the time but not all people all the time.

> The competition has been decimated. BJP spends 3X more than all of the other parties combined together in Elections

How is this an atrocity? This is legitimate right of every party to spend how much ever it gets as donations from the public. The Congress held the ubiquitous position for 60 years. No one questioned political spending then. Why is BJP being questioned for the same now? Just because the public resonate with BJP's National policies and donate to the party? Now will this also be termed as an atrocity? Can't believe the nuts that exist in India.

> Section 144 (prohibiting assembly of 4 or more people) has been arbitrarily applied across India.

Section 144 cannot be arbitrarily applied. Section 144 is imposed by a Magistrate who is an Administrator not an elected official. And a Magistrate will never apply Section 144 arbitrarily without there being a valid cause. And Section 144 is better than riots. Prevention is better than cure. When it comes to choosing between disorder, damage to public property, rioting protestors, communal clashes and Section 144, I would choose Section 144 any day.

Modi is one of those individuals who has been vilified by one community for almost 20 odd years now. It's nothing new. And the amount of media bashing he gets every day even Manmohan Singh did not get the same treatment. No matter how much you lie that there is no freedom to express in India it is infact the exact opposite. Media that is anti-Modi and anti-BJP: NDTV, The Wire, Quint, The Hindu, Indian Express, Newslaundery, ABP News, Aaj Tak, India Today and countless other regional news channels and smaller outlets. The cases filed against some of the media houses are not "false". They are involved in money laundering and are being investigated for the same. No court has said that the cases are "false". This is again malicious propaganda. Show me on case which the Indian Courts have ruled as "fake". Not one.

Sedition cases are slapped against those who have called for break up of the country. It is a case. It is not a conviction. It is a legitimate right of the Government to file cases against those who indulge in Anti-India activities. If Modi was emulating Xi he would have gotten Kanhaiya Kumar killed not have some sedition case slapped on him. Why would he bother taking the legal route if he was a Dictator? Never heard of a Dictator filing legal cases. If this is what you call as "Modi emulating Xi" then I say it is a pathetic attempt at emulating Xi.

Your own arguments fall flat the moment you start dig into the facts instead of becoming emotional!

What is happening in Shaheen Bagh? A protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act that has been going on for more than 40 days where a public road has been blocked. Any other country you would have had riot police beat up the protestors and have them evacuated for causing nuisance to public. We can understand 1 or 2 days of protests but 40 days? This is ridiculous. 40 days of public road being blocked! Which Dictator will allow that? Have some shame.

> And Section 144 is better than riots. Prevention is better than cure.

To prevent riots government needs to produce better policies, so that there would be no need for a riot in the first place. Preventing peaceful assembly is not one of these policies.

> Preventing peaceful assembly is not one of these policies

No one prevented peaceful assembly. Shaheen Bagh is the best example where protestors have captured a public road illegally for 60+ days and neither the Government nor the Police are doing anything about it. Police and Administration only take action against rioters or those who indulge in vandalism of public property. The Deputy Commissioner of the local district gets first hand information on everything that happens in the district. The DC knows beyond doubt if the gathering is going to be peaceful or violent. We have highest levels of intelligence gathering and that has only increased and strengthened manifold after various terror attacks. Hence why the Supreme Court doesn't take the Centre to task neither does the High Court take the State to task over imposition of Section 144. The judges instead just give a rap on the fingers. That is because the administration has all details about the nature of protests and can provide adequate proof. If you really want to understand all this you should spend sometime with retired IAS officers and if they get to like you will tell you the workings of the system. You can't fool the administration into thinking that you can riot in the guise of "peaceful protests". The administration has various ways of intelligence gathering and knows exactly what the outcome of the gathering would be.

>To prevent riots government needs to produce better policies

Apart from better policies, they also need enforceable ones, where local law enforcement is empowered to deal and contain where necessary.

>Even the media is afraid to speak out against BJP

That is a lie. The Indian media is not afraid to criticize the BJP.

I'm not Indian but I am from the same subcontinent and have seen a constant stream of Indian news that are very critical of the current BJP government.

Here are some Indian media that constantly criticize the current BJP government:




Not all media, but many (or most) Indian news outlets are.

> deepfakes are being used to spread propoganda.

Do you have examples for us? Okay if it is in Arabic/Hindi/etc. We talk about the potential for damage here (on HN) and so I think it is important to have examples of this happening in the wild.

It’s more meta fake (presentational deceit) than fake (factual deceit).

Is it fake when a pol speaks token sentences to an audience in a language the pol is very limited in?

Is it unfair if a multilingual pol has command of many languages vs one who doesn’t have such command?

What is an even field? Natural ability, happenstance of wealth (opportunity to learn) or happenstance of exposure (and natural learning).

Here are 3 videos - one original and 2 fake: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMqreF-0f3RhdfD6f7gO4dQ

I voted you up since I want examples but Hindi and Urdu and South Asian languages can be written in Arabic script, but they are not in fact Arabic. The former regardless of writing systems are linguistically way closer to English.

Thank you. I was just trying to say that I am accepting of deep fakes that aren't in English. Maybe that would have been more clear.

If these exist, I think it is important to show them and track how they are being used. Hopefully it can help us avoid similar pitfalls in the future by learning how they are used.

Nobody said they were.

That is not a deep fake. That is like saying a modified Trump video speaking Spanish to appeal to Latino voters is a deep fake.

That would be false information- if someone cannot do something, and doctored video is trying to cover for that weakness, then the video is faking it.

Ergo, it is fake. Overdubbing a person's voice? Questionable.

Making someone look like they're speaking a language they don't know? That's faking it.

Using AI to help out with your fakery? That's deep down the rabbit hole

Deepfake is the technology, not the intention. All those videos where someone replaces everyone in a movie scene with Nicholas Cage, or whatever, are deepfakes even though they're not intended to fool anyone.

I don't think you meant to reply to me. Because I'm asking for examples of these deep fakes...

> They've banned VPNs. They'll chuck you in prison if you speak against the government or a politician.

Thank you for sharing this information. How were you, in your comment above, able to safely criticise the government while in India?

(If you are not able to disclose how you did, that's understandable to me. We all know about methods like Tor and obfs4 bridges. I run a Tor bridge to help people in China, hopefully. And now thanks to you, I'm thinking of India too.)

HTTPS, and a throwaway account that cannot be linked to me. I live in an urban area where the internet isn't very restricted (other than DNS-level blocks for porn and piracy sites). The same is not there for the people in Kashmir, who have had very little (and severely restricted) access to the internet in the past eight months or so.

Stay safe! BJP or rather RSS is a Nazism driven platform and, like seen in any other country in recent years, people fell for the bait of 'development' and guerilla marketing from bigots of their major religion.

This is extremely sad and I am hoping things will correct before everything worsens further.

> Many people are upset, but there's nothing we can do.

I remember people (not to point to anyone in particular but generally) even the educated ones making fun of a new engineer politician on the rise. There was news about slapping the newbie on their roadshows and rallies where this politician was trying to connect personally with the people.

What do you think of that?

For someone like me with an outside-in view I feel that we have a 'karma problem' with the general citizenry of India. Not to come off as a prude American (this is also true now for my own country as well-–Trump nation) but democracy is so much like a mirror––and in the end we all get what we deserve.

While the situation in India is getting worse as others say, it can't be compared to China at all...

I am in Jammu(India) right now and can attest that comments like above are only opinions and not facts. As goes for any country, people keep inventing stuff / leaving crucial details because of their own biases and self interests. The same goes for people who support BJP.

Absolutely right. It is ridiculous to think that the Government will not restrict communications in a region that has seen nothing but violence and terrorism for the past 30 years since the Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. For the first time in 3 decades the Valley is peaceful. If it comes down to choosing between deaths of innocents by deranged terrorists and cutting communication I would always choose the latter. The Pulwama Attack is still fresh in the mind of Indians and cannot be forgotten or forgiven.

How many times did you visit the valley in the last 30 years? Please tell us how peaceful or violent it was during your last 5 visits.

Please, also tell us how exactly this is bringing peace to the valley and if banning phones and internet for months has been so effective, then why did 1988-95 see the most unrest? If I remember correctly, mobile phones with EDGE/GPRS were introduced to Kashmir around what year? 2002? 2000 to ~2010 were also some of the most peaceful years in Kashmir in the last 3 decades.

I have been there multiple times - to Jammu in particular. I'm a 90s kid and in all my life, I have seen an army presence in the region due to the fear of terrorism. Tanks have always had some movement visible to the public at all times (even when it was relatively peaceful).

And here's the kicker - everyone thinks the civilisation is anti muslim. The reason I went to Jammu many times is to visit a Hindu temple there. It sits atop a mountain and you have to climb it by foot. Nowadays they have costly helicopter rides to get to the top, but back in the day all you had were either horses (kinda limited) or manual labourers who offered to carry you up / down in palanquins or directly on their backs. Literally all of them have always been muslims.

The temple and its surrounding areas are completely smothered by the army because they know that this is a very holy ground for the Hindus. If there ever were a terrorist attack aimed at it (or even the whiff of it), there will be blind violence on the streets against all muslims and immediate call for war against pakistan. The same army people know most of these muslim labourers and don't give a shit about them.

Does that mean that the army does not at all attack based on religious profiling? No. The army has done very unethical profiling based on religion in the region in the past. My point is if I didn't include this disclaimer, I can also make up stories of any given bent and literally all of my facts would be true.

Was it peaceful enough that Kashmiri Pandits could return without fear of being killed? If no, then it was not peaceful..

Not sure what that has to do with BANNING 10 MILLION PEOPLE FROM USING INTERNET for 5 months and then banning all social media but from my experience of meeting Pandits in Srinagar who HAVE returned, yes.

Plus, OP implied that Kashmir is peaceful now because of people not having internet access. Are you now saying until Pandits return, Kashmir will have no internet access?

- I was replying to the claim that J&K was peaceful, which it clearly was not. We cannot claim that since it was peaceful for one community, it was peaceful.

- per the media reports that I've seen, no Kashmiri Pandits have dared to return. The only few that are in the valley are the ones who could not migrate, primarily due to economic reasons. Rest have been living as refugees in their own country

- Internet had been used by terrorists and their sympathizors, and that is a fact

Population of Kashmir is around 6.9 million not 10 million. Total population of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is 12 million of which Kashmir is a part.

Don't include Jammu, Leh and Ladakh into this as they want to be with India in totality. Even the Kashmiris you talk about are incomplete without the 5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits who were forcibly made to leave from the Valley. The popular slogan : Raliv, Galiv, Chaliv (Convert, Die or Leave) and the fact that they wanted the Pandits to "leave their women behind" shows what kind of Religious hysteria was fanned up to dislodge the original inhabitants: Kashmiri Pandits, from their homes. Have some shame. Repent for the sins committed on the Pandits community that gave shelter, only to turn against them in the end. Kashmiri Pandits are living as refugees in their own country. What can be more shameful than that? No matter how much you justify the Kashmiri cause the Genocide and Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits will remain a big blot on Kashmiriyat. You cannot suppress Truth for long.

Is this the plan? Are the Pandits when they return going to be the only ones allowed unrestricted internet facility?

I don't see where the comment you replied to suggested this.

That’s my point. There was no plan. BJP jumped off a cliff and none of these guys are going to gainsay them even though there is no way forwards except backwards.

I was going to quote the whole "those who would give up essential liberty..." quote, but then I Googled it and realized that all the search results were spammed with the same false meme about how he was "misquoted". Since likely some hn commenter has been exposed to the meme, I need to preempt them posting it here by pointing out that yes, I am aware of it, I just think the meme is bullshit.

Facts are facts. If a government is doing something and evidence shows that, then it is a fact, not an opinion.

yes and here is the Actual News from the same article ----------- The FIR has been registered while taking cognisance of the social media posts by miscreants by using different VPNs, which are propagating rumours with regard to the current security scenario in the Kashmir valley, secessionist ideology and glorifying terrorists, the police said.

Anyone remotely familiar with the region would know that Jammu is virtually the same as rest of India when it comes to Indian state policies regarding the state of J&K. Kashmir is an entirely different story and that is what is being discussed.

Most Western media wrongly includes Jammu, Ladakh and other parts of J&K in their coverage of Kashmir. Google "12 million people + Kashmir". The population of the Muslim-majortiy Kashmir Valley is 6.9 million.

Interestingly Pakistan demands/consider all of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to be Pakistani territory. There is maybe a case for the Sunni Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley joining Pakistan but I don't think other parts of J&K will join them.

If you have a specific issue with what GP said, please state it. Vague accusations are impossible to respond to.

If your contribution is "people are biased", that's not too helpful.

Again, this is just your opinion. You are no different from the so called die hard BJP fans. You just take the opposite stand. Your methods are same.

I asked you to be more specific and you've dismissed it as "just my opinion". It's impossible to respond to that. Good day.

You have edited your reply now and erased the stuff you said about BJP.

> The ruling party here (BJP) doesn't have any real competition

That's true, the left opposition has become a lame duck because they choose to be dynastic sycophants rather than an actual democracy / meritocracy.

> They've banned VPNs. They'll chuck you in prison if you speak against the government or a politician

Yes, but mostly No. The BJP is more petty than the last congress govt. But, my social media is filled with anti-Modi posts posted by public profiles and not a single one of them has faced any repercussions.

Also VPNs are only banned in Kashmir.

You can criticize something you don't like, without using hyperbole. The hyperbole, when not obvious, only makes your point look weaker.

> We can vote for other parties, but there's no way that they'll ever win

The congress has literally been in power here for 60/70 years of independence. If for a second, they can stop acting like the most incompetent political organization in the world and actually put a half-decent leader in power, then they can mount some proper opposition.

Also, the BJP just lost 4 consecutive state elections and Delhi was lost 60-8. The country is hardly falling in line with Modi. The only problem is the Congress has basically imploded into itself.

> Even the media is afraid to speak out against BJP because if they do then they get attacked by physical and virtual mobs.

Just saying. This has always been true with MSM in most parts of the world. TOI was notorious for falling in line with whoever was in power. Many older news channels acted like Propaganda tools for the Congress too. I am not surprised at all, that they have all moved over to BJP now that the hand that feeds them has changed.

I personally love Shekhar Gupta's work on The Print. He is one of the few journalists disliked by both Congress and BJP, and there is no greater honor in India. I have followed him since his time as Editor in chief of the Indian Express. It was always very high quality, unbiased or the type that declared its bias quite clearly. (like his fondness for Vajpayee)

> It's a shame. So much potential.


Shekhar just had a good video about Ajit Singh Sandhu and the Punjab insurgency.

They say "anti-nationalist" is a bad thing? Wow.

They're calling you anti-national. Basically a traitor.

For Americans, this is identical to when Sen. Joseph McCarthy was branding people "Unamerican". The BJP have succeeded in establishing their brand of hatred and stupidity as the only valid form of patriotism.


I'm not sure what communists wanted to do that. Care to shed some light?

Communists believe countries and governments should be abolished. Seeking the destruction of the American government and country is unamerican.

That has never been the communist philosophy. Communism seeks to destroy private property ownership and capitalism, because they believe that the profit generated by any business is the right of its workers, not the capital owner. They intend to do that by taking ownership of all resources and property by the state and the state managing all businesses.

None of this involves abolishing countries and governments. If anything, communism involves a far more stronger sense of community, patriotism, and a much more powerful government

What's worse it is somewhat synonymous to being secular, anti-hindu, or just debating whatever government does. All different things.

Why do you think nationalism is bad?

It doesn't have a good track record. Nationalism in all its forms is abhorrent.

Scottish Nationalism seems to appeal to many on the left. Apparently it’s very different to English Nationalism.

History shows that nationalism has a very direct path to fascism.


Patriotism is love for one’s country. Nationalism is the belief that one’s country (and often ethnic subset) is supreme (and more deserving of prosperity), speaking generally.

Would the formation of Israel be an expression of nationalism? Can it in that light be seen as the belief that one's country or ethnic group is just as deserving as others'? Or to take a more recent example of Kurdish nationalism.

A desire for sovereignty isn't a belief that your people are supreme. The methods taken creating countries are often nationalistic though.

I’m not especially familiar with those groups but I would think not. Semantics are subjective but I would tend to assume that there’s a pre-requisite that they already be in power, and yet be pushing for tripling down on those power structures.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric is emblematic of nationalist themes. Anti immigrant. Playing up cultural mythos. Bragging about military capabilities. Blaming foreign nations for most problems. Implying that a return to core values will bring greatness. Lots of fear and anger.

Tends to be very effective for groups of people that used to be powerful but are no longer.

Just look at the ugly violence of nationalistic hatred currently gripping, oh I don't know.. let's say India?

If that's too much recursion, consider the World War I and II (among many others), both being based essentially in nationalism.

You've been breaking the site guidelines repeatedly in multiple threads on divisive topics by snarking, getting personal, posting flamebait, and so on. That's not cool. Would you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules from now on? Note this one: "Comments should get more thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."

Since when was India a nation? It's got dozens of languages, two major religions (one of which is more of an ecumenical blending of ancient practices), and many ethnic groups and cultural norms. A nation is by definition homogeneous or nearly so across these variations.

By my estimation India is an empire, and nationalism makes no sense in its context. Patriotism maybe, or political loyalty.

Just seems like a weird choice of political propaganda. I do understand there's a strong anti-Muslim attitude in India, which might be what they're calling nationalism. But it doesn't seem right.

Hinduism is not "an ecumenical blending of ancient practices". It has well defined rituals, rites and codes. They were simply allowed to be modified as necessary by anyone since the ancients essentially believed in freedom to appease your god as you wanted.

The core of Hinduism remains the vedas, gita, the puranas and the upanishads. They lay out a very deep philosophy that theologians much more educated than I am have been investigating for centuries. It is a highly rigid system at its core (contrary to the freewheeling morass image Indians themselves have projected to appear non religious).

This is why India is a nation. From the tip of Jammu till the edge of Kanyakumari, people thought of the vedas as the progenitor scripture of all civilisation. They heard the exact same stories of the Mahabharatha and Ramayana for millennia. The fact that they were free to adapt it and retell or embellish it does not mean they broke away from the system itself or that the system emerged later than the stories did.

Thanks for the insight.

I expect Parent either meant nation as a synonym for "country".

nation is defined as:

na•tion n. A relatively large group of people organized under a single, usually independent government; a country. n. The territory occupied by such a group of people.

Worth noting that many of those ethnic groups still suffer disenfranchisement under the caste system. Indian/Narendra Modi nationalism is Hindu nationalism.

> A nation is by definition homogeneous or nearly so across these variations.

That is a bad and definitely wrong definition


> India is the country where you have freedom to criticize. To verify you can just search internet and YouTube.

“Those who raise anti-national slogans should be put behind the bars,” he said. [1] (he = Amit Shah - Union Home Minister and friend of Modi [the PM])

[1] https://www.thestatesman.com/india/those-who-raise-anti-nati...

May be this will help you understand the difference. Anti-national != criticize.

If you refresh your past memory, kishan kanhaiya raise slogans saying we will break India and he is not in jail.

Every one has right to express their opinion but judicial system will take its course. Govt cannot put people in jail just because someone criticized them. That was the point I am making. I can't make it any clearer than this for you

I’m terrified this is the future of the entire world

In that case you should Kickstart some media outside India. It's your best bet folks. You have a large talent pool and I'm sure you'll come up with some way of financing it.

Interesting. When the media is objective, they are branded as pro-BJP, Sangi, Bhakts etc. It's not fair to expect all the media to spew hate against the ruling government

Misleading Title. It is not about using VPN but about propagating rumors. This is a law in India, as there were instances of riots caused by social media rumor.

Actual News ----------- The FIR has been registered while taking cognisance of the social media posts by miscreants by using different VPNs, which are propagating rumours with regard to the current security scenario in the Kashmir valley, secessionist ideology and glorifying terrorists, the police said.

It's really too bad that the two rising tech countries - China and India - have such a third-world approach to censorship on the Internet. You would think they would want to mimic the US's successful formula in hopes of building their presence as a tech powerhouse, but in this area they don't seem to be doing that.

We have yet to see how the US reacts when a massive section of it wants to secede.

India and China both face a significantly more difficult geopolitical reality than the USA.

Some of the world's most westernized and developed countries (Spain, Israel) are starting to use violence and suppressive tactics now that they are faced with even the smallest amount of secessionist unrest.

Kashmir is one of the most militarized border zones alongside the West Bank. I fully agree that there might be better and less suppressive methods that the Govt. can use to deal with the Kashmir issue, but to act as though a USA like policy would work in countries with very different ground realities is being willfully arrogant.

At the risk of sounding too cold, if the choice was between death of a few million people (which India has a long history of) and complete destruction of communication frameworks. I would choose that latter.

Now the big problem with what the Indian Govt. is doing, is that this has been going on for almost a year and they are making no efforts to bring Kashmir back to "normalcy". Such draconian policies should only come into place for very short durations with measures for removal, the second unrest goes below a certain point.

Isn't cutting off communication / or various forms of oppression often part of the path to the death of a few million people?

I'm not convinced one is being traded for another... possibly quite the opposite.

No - it is not. For most Indians, encryption of messaging/communication is a recent phenomenon popularized by Whatsapp. Millions of people have already died as part of religious, naxal and territorial violence in the past decades. Encryption is not a magical solution to everything.

We have yet to see how the US reacts when a massive section of it wants to secede.

We have?


The context was specifically for consumer encryption technologies, which wasn’t an issue during the Civil War.

That really is not clear from the statement: "We have yet to see how the US reacts when a massive section of it wants to secede," which is obviously false.

It's not false because we don't know what the reaction would be if this happened today. The reaction of people 160 years ago is not at all predictive of what would happen today. Especially if the issue was not a moral one as it was 160 years ago.

Its obvious falseness is usually a hint that there are contextual conversational modifiers that are implicit. Conversationally, if your objective is information exchange, it is usually more productive to ask for clarification than to refute one interpretation.

During the Internet age, is what OP probably meant.

> We have yet to see how the US reacts when a massive section of it wants to secede.

Shutdown hundreds of critical newspapers. Suspended habeus corpus. And war.


Not to mention an unrealistic threat of secession led to the deportation of up to 2 million mexican americans.


Which was tied to


and accelerated due to the Great Depression.

Of course the fear that japanese americans may try to secede and align with japan got them put in concentration camps.


> India and China both face a significantly more difficult geopolitical reality than the USA.

Both of them face separatism funded by foreign nations which adds an extra level of concern.

> but to act as though a USA like policy would work in countries with very different ground realities is being willfully arrogant.

If you think this is ignorant, go look up US views on free trade and protectionism. In the media, you'll see everyone say the US has always been pro-free trade. History shows otherwise.

President Abraham Lincoln declared, "Give us a protective tariff and we will have the greatest nation on earth." Lincoln warned that "the abandonment of the protective policy by the American Government ... must produce want and ruin among our people."


Almost all the commonly held beliefs we've been brainwashed to accept by the media are simply lies. Democracy? Ask the bolivians, venezuelans, iranians, etc. Freedom? Ask the slaves in libya or the poor slaving away in saudi arabia, kuwait, etc.

Nobody commenting online sitting in their armchairs understands what running a nation looks like. Lincoln met secession threats by declaring them as illegal and terrorist threats and what not if I remember correctly. And he had to do it if he wanted to keep the nation together.

We are much more connected now than he was in the 1800s, so the stupid people have enough voice to demand the freedom to make secession speeches. It is an unheard of concept in history and until we kill the idea of a nation state, secession is always a threat to societal fabric. But try to make a rabid liberal "muhhh democracy" crier understand this and they'll retort with nonsensical and false moral equivalents.

> Such draconian policies should only come into place for very short durations with measures for removal

One of the problems when giving a government powers like this for a “short duration” is they tend to end up sticking a lot longer than that.

We had a pretty big experiment with federalism and secession in the 19th century, actually.

Yeah, but they didn't have VPNs back then ;)

any time i had to use the VPN at my previous job it certainly felt like it was developed during the civil war...

They had a postal service which was censored, and used codes to communicate

Just because it's successful in the US doesn't stop politicians from trying to enact the same measures here as well. We need to continue to fight back at every turn such that we don't go down the same path.

"have such a third-world approach to censorship on the Internet"

Let's not associate the third-world with authoritarian or fascist.

In addition, the term itself is outdated.

Please don't use "third-world" as a generic insult for countries.

Even the wrong-yet-common definition of "poor" doesn't fit here, because internet censorship isn't a function of wealth: Saudi Arabia is rather rich yet unfree. Russia and China area also not "third world".

Russia, a leading internet censor, actually happens to be the (current version of) a country that used to be the definition of either "first" or "second" world.

Not that I disagree with what you're saying but can you please clarify what you mean by "third-world approach"? It seems to imply some sort of inferiority compared to "first-world".

> mimic the US's successful formula

You mean the one involving outsourcing IP law enforcement to private cartels amid increasing calls to remove 230 protections from public-facing internet companies?

I feel like anytime someone mentions "man it works in this place" someone has a specific gripe about a case where it doesn't work.

Yes some things need a lot of work, but it's hardly "cut off everyone from the internet" level... not even close.

Can you elaborate on this a bit more? I'm intrigued yet confused from your comment.

People that don't like it when freedom of association is exercised by website owners want to chip away at safe harbor provisions such that all of the internet is turned into a virtual Disneyland where any objectionable content is banned out of fear of criminal liability for hosting it.

>to mimic the US's successful formula

The American formula allows foreign agents to conduct elaborate, micro-targeted psyops campaigns to manipulate our elections; enables a dramatic resurgence in previously fading extremist ideologies; and facilitates one of the largest expansions of economic and regional inequality in American history?

I don't know if we can really assert we have this figured out. These are all especially areas of concern for governments like India and China, where fear of balkanization, civil war, and severe communitarian violence are either contemporary problems or have been fairly recently in their political histories.

Yeah I would hope so.

But it takes strong laws, a strong / independent judiciary... and politicians who want to maintain the rule of law regardless of how convenient it is for them personally. Sadly it's not just a thing you "have" and keep.

India and China don't have those things.

When I left Kashmir a few months ago, my phone and all its contents were checked by Indian police at the airport. They asked me to unlock and checked photos, WhatsApp texts, etc.

Random arrests and extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris by the Indian state is a quite regular occurrence. A laughable narrative around how they were "Pakistan sponsored terrorists" is usually spun by the media/police nexus.

> A laughable narrative around how they were "Pakistan sponsored terrorists" is usually spun by the media/police nexus.

So who conducted the Pulwama terror attack? Have you seen the video of the terrorist and the filth that he utters against Hindus? It is obvious that Pakistan is involved in sponsoring terror. They are in the grey list in FATF for a reason and have two of the World's most dangerous terrorists: Masood Azhar (who has gone missing! how does a high profile UN designated terrorist go missing?) and Hafiz Saeed (who was roaming free till recently and was only thrown in jail because of FATF pressures). These two individuals, who are Chiefs of their organizations: Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-E-Toiba, respectively are the main conspirators in the 26/11 Mumbai Attack and the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.

And shall we forget how Pakistan provided Osama Bin Laden a safe haven right next to its own Military HQ?

We are not stupid.

There have been a stream of terror attacks in Kashmir ever since the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s. But since India Abrogated Article 370 on August 5th, there has been actual peace after a long time.

Let's not push the narrative of Kashmir being peaceful after the abrogation of Article 370 without any meaningful metric for the same.

I'm not sure what your argument is. Are you only opposing cutting off internet or are you opposed to kashmir's "occupation"?

There are many factors that make the abrogation the right move. We shouldn't be dividing a secular country for another Islamic state. Jammu and Leh should not be held back by religious based separatism. Even if Kashmir turns more violent, not giving into theocratic demands for another Islamic state is the right thing to do.

Maybe cutting off internet and house arrest of politicians was not the right moves, but neither was the status quo of perpetual autonomy and jihadi separatists.

Disclaimer, as I should add one. I'm no bjp supporter, and i hate the hindutva guys the same as I do the islamist crowd. After all, we call bjp making india a hindu pakistan. The word pakistan is derogatory here.

Opposed to both. I should have been clearer.

As the parent comment appears to assume that the decisions taken by the government in Kashmir are tied to the terrorism in the valley as opposed to being mere line items in their manifesto that stems from their political ideology. So assuming what they're saying is correct, I only wish to understand the metric for peace.

Classic internet comment conflating 2 different issues into one to make an abhorrent point.

India is over reaching in Kashmir without question. But to imply that there aren't terrorist actors from Pakistan in the region is completely false. It has been borne out time and again that even if they don't physically cross the border, they train and indoctrinate the youth in the region somehow.

This is the problem with everyone opposing this govt. There are egregious violations of privacy happening in Kashmir but the talk revolves around how they're creating a smokescreen with terrorists. This is both true and false. They are creating a smokescreen but no Indian will ever disagree that the ISI is sending over jihadis on the regular to this day and that Imran Khan is a puppet with the strings in the hands of the Pakistani army. If you throw out the latter, you can attack and criticise the govt for its draconian laws. But they'd rather fight using that stupid crutch.

Somehow? Are you insane? They can’t have any genuine grievances?

Is this functionally different from the US immigration authorities asking to inspect a person's social media content on their cellphone/laptop when entering the US ? Not just from "hostile" countries like Iran but occasionally from visitors from Canada ? I know at least one Canadian born citizen (had an Islamic name ) who was asked to reveal their social media profile and had their smartphone searched

OP is saying he was leaving Kashmir. Generally US authorities ask this stuff when you arrive.

Did they manually browse through the data or download it to a computer for further analysis later?

No, they just manually browsed it. Both on my computer (which is a practice that's been there for >7-9 years) and mobiles.

Because of the media/telecom gag my non-Kashmir friends find it hard to believe absurd laws imposed by the Indian state, like AFSPA, PSA, etc

Do you have any idea what would happen if you factory reset your phone just before passing a border?

Do you know what Factory Reset means?

This is a reminder that without physical security, electronic security is pretty much worthless. The best encryption won't save you from rubberhose cryptanalysis where they beat you until you reveal your key. Clever circumvention technologies such as VPN won't save you when they arrest your for using circumvention technologies.

These are all good things, but we in tech, oftentimes think we can program our way out of bad physical governance. We can't! We need now more than ever to engage with everyone to make sure that we have good physical governments.

>Clever circumvention technologies such as VPN won't save you when they arrest your for using circumvention technologies.

True, but my question here is: given that VPNs are pretty much essential for the way many large corporations work (they're not going to let employees access sensitive data over the internet in the clear), how does India, a country with a large tech presence and which promotes itself as a good place for software development, handle this?

You can use VPNs in other parts of the country, just not in the areas where internet access has been banned. While this is an egregious abuse of power and a gross violation of the rights of Kashmiris, it is not happening in the rest of the country.

How is use of VPN is enforced? Looking at credit card transactions?

Use-cases like these makes cryptocurrency so much appealing. Where I can potentially spend my money like normal physical cash.

Well, it's just Kashmir, which is as close to become a tech booming region as those remote tribes in the middle of the amazon rainforest.

There are online businesses, call centers, tech startups that have been affected. Maybe you would hear what they are saying if you weren’t too busy sneering.

It is just in Kashmir which has no real industry to speak of.

Can't they whitelist VPN access to corporate IPs?

Circumvention technologies must be used by everyone, so you can't filter out some people.

It's very fun how Kazakhstan government worked against himself. They blocked a lot of websites including harmless ones (like pornhub) and plenty of useful ones (probably by mistake) along with opposition websites. So basically most of computer-literate people now have VPN ready to use and many people use it all the time, myself included. Government tried to block Tor and some major VPNs, but I don't think that it worked out. For example Cloudflare VPN works just fine.

Now even if they wanted to find out who reads opposition websites, they have no way to do that, because a lot of people use VPN every day. Again, thanks to Cloudflare, I just install and enable VPN for everyone I know to improve their browsing experience.

I'm not sure if "Harmless like a site that has been exposed for hosting rape videos of minors" is the rabbit hole you wanted to jump down.

From the perspective of a hostile government it's safe to assume that people VPN'ing to known CIDRs of VPNs are doing something subversive. I don't think this is really giving people much security as far as casual visiting goes.

Finding out what they're doing on opposition websites is a much better argument though.

Perhaps there is also the need for untraceable/hidden tools for censorship circumvention. This may involve masquerading as normal traffic. I've heard of specialized hidden censorship circumvention tools that do this by tunneling information though protocols like ping or DNS which won't look as suspicious as a VPN. Of course, for wide deployment this will become a game of cat and mouse, but I don't see any reason it would be impossible to make a good solution that is very hard to detect.

Your intentions are really good, but this kind of comment is _exactly_ what the person you're responding to was talking about - you're just playing another cat-and-mouse game and not solving the real issue.

The world is hitting a breaking point where this has to be solved by fixing governments/legislation/what have you, not by programming more.

(Edit: a typo)

We're on a tech form. We aren't political experts, we're tech experts. While we should be aware and discuss the political issues at the end of the day we aren't experts in that. But being experts in tech, we can approach the problem from that end. This isn't a "I'm a hammer therefore every problem is a nail" this is "It is a complicated problem that involves nails, screws, rivets, welding, etc. I am good at using a hammer, so let me take care of the nails".

The hammer analogy is amusing, given the old adage of "if your only tool is a hammer...". :)

I'm of the opinion that a voice (such as yours), if it's so much of an expert, would be better off in advocacy and consulting rather than tinkering with more tools. Not everyone has to agree with me, but I agree with OP's comment and I maintain that your response is emblematic of the issue.

I probably won't respond further to this, given we disagree (which is fine) and I've said my piece.

I just think that since we can't know everything that we instead form coalitions. Use our expertise together to function better, together.

The OP's comment make me feel that they are requesting that we be experts in everything. While I believe this is a popular belief (I think it is especially common among us nerdy types that we _have_ to be experts on everything), it is also unhealthy and makes us weaker as a society. Instead lets form coalitions. Coalitions are stronger than their individual parts.

Sometimes hammering nails into the broken thing will just end up splitting the wood and it'll be more broken than before.

Yes, this is a tech forum, but it's entirely reasonable to argue that in some cases, a tech solution is by its very nature not the right solution.

> Sometimes hammering nails into the broken thing will just end up splitting the wood and it'll be more broken than before.

I 100% agree? But we're trying to build a house here. We may not want to hammer nails into those boards, but there are plenty of places we want to. We also don't want to hammer into steel or into live wires.

Maybe my analogy didn't work. I'm saying form coalitions and we apply our domain knowledge to the domain of the problem where our knowledge is most effective. We leave the other domains up to the other domain experts. I'm not saying we shouldn't be aware and help where we can with those issues, but that we also aren't the experts there and shouldn't be leading the conversations (again, participate, but not leading).

wait are you telling me that experts in tech are not by default also experts in all other fields? i'm going to have to let everyone i work with know about this...

I know... such a radical belief. But for some reason it is...

I remember reading on the Signal Blog[0] about using domain fronting to hide their traffic from governments. I think we not only need to have a serious conversation about this (hey corps, if you want to do some good, just look the other way or actually embrace this!) but need to push for technology like this and others. India is heavily invested in WhatsApp and we know that it leaks a lot of metadata. We see in HK users being deanonymized through WA/Telegram/Signal because phone numbers are how social graphs are created or through weak encryption.

There's currently a lot of apathy because people feel defeated. But as the tech literate I feel it is our place to lead these conversations.

[0] https://signal.org/blog/looking-back-on-the-front/

Tor has setting that hide your data to make it look inconspicuous. The issue with tor is its speed and ease of use in my opinion. https://2019.www.torproject.org/docs/pluggable-transports

Well, there isn't much we can do around here to solve physical security.

But we can make sure that the rubber hose is required. The government going around beating people on no evidence is a completely different situation than they knowing beforehand everything they need to do.

This is going to sound antiquated and tedious, so please bear with me. Rather than using a VPN/Tor/etc. which can be easily detected or requires a lot of OpSec to get right, consider having people in other countries that can help bundle archives of data for you. Ship the data back and forth over something non conspicuous and not subject to MITM proxies such as SFTP to AWS or one of the low-rent VPS providers. Use a ram based linux distribution in India to create the posts, tar the data up, SFTP to another country. A friend in that country outside of India pulls down the tarball and posts text and videos to social media for you. When you are done uploading your tarball, reboot, and all the data is gone from your end. You can boot back into whatever government approved OS image is acceptable.

If you set the filesystem permissions right on the SFTP server, then even if they beat the username / pw out of you, then all they will find is cat videos on the chroot SFTP server. Your friend will see the tarball of objectionable content in a hidden directory. Remember to sanitize EXIF data from pictures first as that has your GPS location and in some cases your cell phone serial number. Someone will suggest ssh keys over password, but they should not in this case. No data must be persisted on the India side of this scenario.

I will be the first to admit, this process is tedious. I am only suggesting it as a last resort when all else fails.

ssh could be used for proxy, so it might be marked as a VPN by ISP hardware. Better way would be to use something very popular like Gmail or Google Drive. I hope that chances are small for Google to co-operate with Indian government.

One of the reasons I suggest SFTP is that contractors in India are very often asked to transfer data to US and EU companies this way. It is often required for contractors to do their job. You can disable port forwarding on the SFTP server in the event that government officials want to verify it is not a proxy. If the VPS used is AWS, it is even less conspicuous. The admins of the account for the VM must be outside of India. The server can even contain work related files to make it legit.

This process is predicated on the idea that you want to get the word out about things occurring in your country and that you do not need to take credit for it.

I think India is well on its way to becoming hybrid regime in the Democracy Index. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/01/22/global-d...

Governments everywhere do not like secrecy. Unless, naturally, it is their secrets. Everyone else should, ideally, sit at the table with their hands palm up and on the said table.

I wish it was an isolated incident, but the more politicians you hear, the more it becomes apparent that it is all about the side you are on.

The most populous democracy on earth, everybody!

Yeah, one that's nuclear armed and constantly on the brink of war with its nuclear armed neighbor.

A bit worrying, no?

Turns out Civilization bugs are more prescient than we thought.

The American Conversation is an argument, after all, and way worse than our fear of error or anarchy or Gomorrahl decadence is our fear of theocracy or autocracy or any ideology whose project is not to argue or persuade but to adjourn the whole debate /sine die/.It's this logic (and perhaps this alone) that keeps protofascism or royalism or Maoism or any sort of really dire extremism from achieving mainstream legitimacy in the US---how does one vote for No More Voting?

Remind me again, does India have a democratic government or an authoritarian regime?

A democratically-elected authoritarian regime.

Literacy is key to eradicate authoritarian BJP in India. Because the last standing state is the most literate state in India which is Kerala.

I don't think this is true. Some of the most educated and wealthy people support the BJP, fascist though the party may be. Look at the vote split in the recent Delhi election. All upper caste voters flocked to the BJP by margins of 20%+. Dalits and Muslims voted AAP. Upper castes are disproportionately wealthy and educated.

My theory for this is that such people (relatives of mine included, sadly) are just higher on Maslow's heirarchy of needs. At the bottom you need roti-kapda-makaan (food, clothing, shelter), followed by bijli-sadak-paani (electricity, roads, water) and higher up health and education. If you've had all of this all your life, you take them for granted. When Modi comes along and peddles a grand vision to Make India Great Again, like it was in Vedic times, that captures the imagination and inspires us. When the BJP tells us that all of our problems are because of Muslims and that we need to put them in their place to fix everything, we're only too willing to listen.

This is pretty spot on. Something as simple and basic as the Maslow's hierarchy explains the voting pattern in India. It is no coincidence that rising middle class has coincided with the rise in BJP's electoral returns. With their basic needs met, their worry now is to protect their Gods, reconstructing a temple that was supposedly demolished 500 years ago and goddam cows! They really do not care about the plight of the less fortunate around them. Concepts like freedom of expression, individual liberty, equality etc. are of not much importance to them.

I agree with your statement. 7-8 years or so ago, right before first Modi election, I visited a friend. He is from very affluent, very well educated, in high bureaucratic positions IAS, IPS services. His mother was talking to me and asked who am I going to vote for. I kind of refrained from answering, and she said "Vote for the Hindu party". I honestly didn't know, how to respond without offending her beliefs. Obviously, this is anecdata...but combined with few more instanced like these you can somehow extrapolate that there are enough people who believe in this shit.

Democracy has nothing to do with liberty. It's just a flavor of authoritarianism.

Well, it's most of India electing a regime that's authoritarian to one region. So it's both in the appropriate contexts.

Quick summary of the situation in India

- In 2014, Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister on a plank of "development for all". Since the BJP's pedigree was one of Hindu nationalism (aka Hindutva), this was a change welcomed by many. He had a good track record of development as Chief Minister (equivalent of Governor in America).

- After a couple of major missteps (invalidating all high value currency notes, tax changes), growth started to slow. While it had been 7-9% between 2004 and 2014, it was now 5% or less.

- The BJP started to capture and subvert institutions that make India function as a democracy including the Courts[1] and the Election Commission[2]. They intimidated and coerced the media into toeing the BJP line [3].

- In 2019, the BJP won re-election. In this campaign, there was no talk of development (because there was precious little of it), no discussion of rampant unemployment. The BJP tried to convince us that the main issue was Pakistan (it wasn't) and how they were an existential threat to the nation (they weren't) and how Modi had "taught them a lesson" (he hadn't).

- Since then, Hindutva has made a big comeback. It is now priority #1, above unemployment, above low growth.

- The BJP is staking everything on killing the separatist movement in Kashmir and removing all special privileges of Kashmiris, building a temple over a destroyed mosque, and removing illegal Muslim immigrants. Though seemingly disparate, all of these facilitate the broader goal of establishing a Hindu Rashtra - a nation of Hindus, by Hindus, for Hindus. One where the secular Constitution of India is no longer valid.

- To enforce this, the BJP has resorted to totalitarian tactics, including the effective house arrest of millions of Kashmiris, coupled with an internet blackout. Thanks to the aforementioned capture of the Courts, the Supreme Court has done nothing to right this injustice [4].

That's where we are now.

On a personal note, writing this down broke my heart. I love my country and I grieve to see what is being done to it.

[1] - https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/judging-the-judges/ci...

[2] - https://frontline.thehindu.com/cover-story/article29618205.e...

[3] - https://thewire.in/media/punya-prasun-bajpai-bjp-media

[4] - https://scroll.in/article/935432/analysis-supreme-court-orde...

> building a temple over a destroyed mosque

Wasn't this a Supreme Court order both parties accepted? The BJP isn't forcing this, although this has been their goal for decades and they will certainly claim credit for it.

See my points about undue influence by the BJP over the Court. Realistically this influence meant there was no other decision those judges could take, even though it was ridiculous to award land based on "fervent religious belief", with no proof other than scripture. Worst of all, the destruction of the mosque was unlawful even according to judges themselves and yet they saw fit to compound that injury by taking away the land under the mosque and awarding it to groups allied with the original destroyers of the mosque.

You're right about the BJP claiming credit for it. We're going to hear about nothing else for the next four years, especially during state election periods.

> See my points about undue influence by the BJP over the Court.

Even if it's true, it doesn't mean the BJP influenced this court decision. You don't have proof for it, so you shouldn't speculate.

> Worst of all, the destruction of the mosque was unlawful even according to judges themselves and yet they saw fit to compound that injury by taking away the land under the mosque and awarding it to groups allied with the original destroyers of the mosque.

They awarded the land to build the temple because they found archeological evidence that the mosque was built on a non-Islamic structure which is recorded in history as Hindu. The case wasn't about whether the mosque demolition was illegal or not (it was). It was about resolving who the disputed land belongs to. The mosque superseded a Hindu place of worship of huge significance. There was no "perfect" decision here; it was always going to compromise one party over the other.

There is ample proof published by the Archaeological Survey of India that there are remnants of a temple under the mosque. There is no longer any doubt on this point. The fact that you did not know this despite knowing almost everything else about the case is unbelievable to me. This means you're being obtuse and disingenuous on purpose. Well done spreading misinformation on the internet. I'm sure you'll have a nice day.

These discussions quickly devolve into political mudslinging , I wish there was way to filter out such posts.

https://archive.is/Gf3Pg if anyone blocks guce.advertising.com

If Pakistan had just listened to the UN and actioned first step of the security councils resolution 47, we would not be in this position.

This is very sad to see. Privacy is a right.

The majority of the population has blind faith in BJP. The only demographic that appears to realise the implications well enough is the youth in urban areas - a very insignificant fraction of the nation's population.

Sounds all too familiar here in the US. We are effectively held hostage by rural voters, and the obvious remedy for this state of affairs -- abolishing the Electoral College -- will mean that those voters have the same legitimate grounds for complaint against us.

At some point we have to start re-evaluating the conventional wisdom that democracy is the best possible form of government at all possible scales.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22360928.

Who is "we"? This is how democracy works, and those rural voters have a say in what happens. This country would crumble within months without all those flyover states contributing to the nation.

Curious as to your line of thinking here. What exactly do the coasts need that only flyover country can provide?

I live in a flyover state and I like living here just fine, but I find the idea that California is going to crumble if North Dakota stops supporting it to be hilarious.

Flyover country provides food, manufacturing and talent to many corporations that you don't know but interact with every day.

As a 20 year resident of California, this state is absolutely broke and barely survives as it is. It would be a failed nation-state if it was on its own.

All of them are broke. CA, IL, KY etc. Wall Street has fucked the entire nation and the global financial system over. I say this as someone working on Wall Street. The economic hitmen have destroyed the world's monetary system and they need to be thrown in prison.

I'm gonna argue that all of those things are fungible commodities easily bought by the next supplier should they become unavailable from flyover country.

Curious why you've lived for so long in a state you apparently have a lot of disdain for. There must be something keeping you there.

If they were so easily bought then they would be, but you missed the fact that the state is broke and can't pay for anything anyway.

Family keeps my primary residence here, but that's irrelevant to the discussion.

Here's an exercise: ask a CA resident to name 10 things that have gotten better over the last decade in this state. I'd be surprised if they name 1.

These things are commodities, a bushel of corn is a bushel of corn is a bushel of corn. They're not more difficult to buy from elsewhere, the logistic just become marginally more expensive. There's not a buyer in the world that's going to buy the more expensive stuff first, but a marginal increase in logistics cost to buy corn from mexico instead of kansas is not going to result in california sinking into the ocean.

What state do you think is just full to the brim with people waiting to talk about how good things are?

Excellent, I expect these rural Kashmiri voters will be able to elect their MLAs real soon now

Well, not even panchayat, let alone MLA: https://thewire.in/politics/jk-defers-panchayat-poll-ec

If by "works" you mean "Results in the election of Donald Trump as President," then, yeah, it "works," I suppose.

What I mean is that you have to accept what the will of people, expressed by the system, votes into power - even if you don't like it.

Speaking as someone in one of those flyover states, the electoral college appears to have ended up in the worst of both worlds: it is neither reflecting the popular vote nor is the college doing what it was designed to do, which is act as a sanity check against demagogues and corruption.

It wasn't designed to do either of those things. The Electoral College makes sure each state has a say without being overruled by the majority. Countering the popular vote is the point.

Also corruption is a much deeper issue that has to do with popular perception and the vast amounts of money in politics. It needs to be solved starting in local elections and work its way up. There's nothing the EC can do about that.

"held hostage by rural voters" is an interesting choice of words considering they already feel the same way. There are already movements in a number of states with a lot of local support to have rural areas that are politically dominated by urban voters secede and join other states that more closely align with their values. I don't know why state governments don't let that happen more freely if they aren't actually trying to be the ones holding others hostage.

Because redrawing state lines is not a simple thing, nor would it really solve the fact that there will be a mix of different voters and values in every location.

>I don't know why state governments don't let that happen more freely if they aren't actually trying to be the ones holding others hostage.

Because the people who run governments often think in terms of maximizing power because that is what it takes to be a successful career politician. When you think that way of course it seems stupid to give up a bunch of people and land who pay taxes to you, count toward your population but aren't actually numerous enough to over-rule the majority party even if the presence of those people is not liked by them and your base. While no particular leader may see themselves as holding the minority group hostage political map lines never get re drawn because there are bigger fires to fight and broaching an topic involving re-drawing the political map has many, many ways to go wrong and maybe a couple to go right.

Exactly. If somebody tries to leave a building and you won't let them, they're not the hostage taker. If you really don't like rural voters and think they're just a burden, prove it, and support parting ways. Oh and fuck the silent downvoters. Get over yourselves already and stop pretending you understand the people you disagree with.

It works both ways. In this case the only benefit of leaving the building is that people outside the building get 2.5x the say as people in buildings from an outdated set of laws before the concept of modern buildings even existed.

I'm stretching your analogy to its limits here but both parties can claim to be held hostage to some degree.

"I don't like it" doesn't mean "it's outdated". Today's heavy differences in population density is exactly why the great compromise was reached. How is it any different from when Virginia and Rhode Island were deciding if they should be part of the same country?

If you don't like Trump, I have sympathy, I also hate the guy. But the Democratic Party used superdelegates to pick a notoriously unelectable candidate who was never going to win over moderates, and employed slogans like "it's not rigged, you just lost". And then they tried to blame the loss on the Great Compromise, which is kind of like superdelegates but not as arbitrary. For that, I'm afraid, I have no sympathy.

Well, for one, Virginia had an interest in Rhode Island being part of the US. Does California benefit from being in the same country as North Dakota? Apart from having their democratic ability in choosing their own executive diluted, not really.

So "great" is really a question of great for who.

Again - if you really think that - the solution is to PART WAYS, not try and get one over on them in return. I can see it's all about principles, but only as long as you're the one benefiting.

kashmir to me is war zone. As you know everything is fair in war.

Very sad. But a great lesson for the rest of the world. Democracy with an uneducated populace is a disaster waiting to happen

So the solution would be to not have democracy until the unwashed uneducated masses become otherwise so?

The East India company would've agreed with you :p

No. That is stupid. The solution is to make sure that education is never skimped on.

The lesson for countries like US that are cutting education in favor of tax cuts is that lack of education in a electoral democracy is a self-fulfilling disaster.

This guy is the only person that understands root of entire problem being discussed in this thread. What was and is literacy rate in all of Kashmir in early 20th century and especially now in insurgent districts? Government of India and UGC are making big hue and cry about online education. How do they expect these areas to take part?

Misleading Title. It is not about using VPN but about propagating rumors.

This is a law in India, as there were instances of riots caused by social media rumor.

Actual News ----------- The FIR has been registered while taking cognisance of the social media posts by miscreants by using different VPNs, which are propagating rumours with regard to the current security scenario in the Kashmir valley, secessionist ideology and glorifying terrorists, the police said.

I am young Techie from India too and I totally support it.

Suppressing secession is tyranny. India should know a thing or two about that.

It is not tyranny, when it involves terrorism. There were multiple demands for secession in the past across Punjab, assam and all were resolved through dialog. Problem with Kashmir is, it Foreign Funded terrorism and there were attempts for discussions in the past and which didn't work

> It is not tyranny, when it involves terrorism

I'm not sure I would otherwise bring this up, as it's of tangential relevancy at best, but to return to GP's point, could the prelude to Indian independence (c. 1900-1920), and the response of the colonial government, not be described in similar terms?


Both are completely different. In colonial government, people does not have equal rights. Britishers more interested in taking riches to their country than interested in welfare of the people. In this current scenario, every citizen has equal rights and can become PM too.

P.S. Your English is very deep.

No one suppressed secession. There have been secession movements not just in Kashmir but in North East too. That doesn't give anyone the authority to conduct terror attacks on fellow citizens. When things go beyond a point of no return then force is needed. Since the day India Abrogated Article 370 there hasn't been one major terror attack in Kashmir. That is good enough for the rest of India that was sick and tired of hearing Civilians and Army men being targeted by terrorists in Kashmir ever since the Kashmiri Pandit exodus in the 1990s. If you want to learn a thing or two about India, you better read up on Exodus and Genocide Kashmiri Pandits and how they are now refugees in their own country. Then you have the rights to lecture Indians on what is democracy and what is tyranny. We have been the most accommodative over the years and our patience has been tested far beyond permissible limit. India already went through a terrible Partition in 1947 on Religious lines where Muslims did not want to live with Hindus. Did that solve the problem? Nope. We already had one Partition. Won't allow more. And we shouldn't even be justifying it. It is surprising to me that people here question the decisions of a Sovereign Nation on what it should and should not do. Would you be willing to have your Nation broken up into multiple pieces because some Tom, Dick or Harry doesn't like the way it is now? Don't be ridiculous!

> Would you be willing to have your Nation broken up into multiple pieces because some Tom, Dick or Harry doesn't like the way it is now?

As someone who conceivably sees this happening to his country in the relatively near future (English; Scotland leaving the UK), I'm not sure it's my right to prevent the secession of an identifiable group/country/region (the special status under Article 370 seems to suggest Jammu and Kashmir _might_ be such) against their will.

> Since the day India Abrogated Article 370 there hasn't been one major terror attack in Kashmir.

Only six months on from abrogation I'd be somewhat reluctant to draw any firm conclusions. Based on my limited understanding, major attacks do not seem to be have been of such a frequency that you would necessarily expect one to occur within that six month period.

> the special status under Article 370 seems to suggest Jammu and Kashmir _might_ be such

Nope. Article 370 was always a temporary provision. It was not permanent Special Status. The Act itself said that the provision was temporary and could be lifted by just Presidential Consent. And the will of the people cannot be taken into account without considering Kashmiri Pandits who are the original inhabitants of Kashmir but were kicked out by Jihadis in the 90s. Read up on Exodus and Genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. They are living as refugees in their own country. For past 30 years. Has there been a greater injustice than this? And you can see the vitriol against the Pandits in the comment section for yourself. See your sibling comment on how ridiculous some can get when it comes to the treatment meted out to the Pandits. If this is how their reaction is towards Kashmiri Pandits in the virtual world imagine what it is like on ground. They were given 3 options: Raliv, Galiv ya Chaliv which translates to Convert, Die or Leave. Another popular slogan: "Leave your women behind". You may have calls for separatism in your country but it was never on religious lines. You will never understand that pain.

So we are going to go back to Pandits taking 75% of seats in NIT Srinagar? Is that acchhe din?


I don’t hate Pandits. I had Pandit classfellows in college and Hindu friends at college and school. Shame on you for implying this. I hate that things got to this point, that’s why I bring these things up. These are complaints that people had in 1980s and you aren’t going to erase them. NIT Srinagar was formerly “Regional Engineering College”

You absolutely do. Every comment you have made has this underlying racism against the Pandits. There is no question about it. You denying it won't change the opinion I have already made about you.

An NIT cannot be transformed back into an REC. I studied in NITK which was earlier KREC. When it becomes an NIT, AICTE rules apply. We had students from Kashmir studying in NITK too when I was pursuing my degree. Kashmiris have all benefits of applying for jobs, education and buying land anywhere in India but it wasn't possible for Indians to do the same as long as Article 370 existed. You talk about Pandits as if they stole your jobs and education. The 75% reservation for Pandits never existed. If you have a proof for it you are more than welcome to show. The fact of the matter is you don't. These sort of lies and deceit is what led to the Religious hysteria against Pandits eventually leading to their Genocide and Exodus. You should be thankful to them that they did not resort to violence or took revenge. You drove the Pandits out. Fine. Then what did you do? Did you send your children to schools and get them a good education in NIT Srinagar? You did not. You made them pick up stones and then when they graduated from stone pelting, thrust AK-47 in their hands. 30 years since the Exodus, Kashmiri Muslim children are not at all on par with the rest of India. I saw how my friends from Kashmir struggled in NITK. First of all their representation was so poor. Just 3 Kashmiri Muslims in the batch I graduated from. Rest of the States sent a minimum of 20 students. Worst part was that the 3 Kashmiri Muslim students had gotten admission through various quotas. If not for those quotas their ranks would never have gotten them seats in NITK. So what did you achieve by kicking out the Pandits? Did the Kashmiri children grow up to be Doctors, Engineers, Scientists or Artists? Barring a few exceptions here and there most still don't have access to basic education. Despite the fact that approximately 10% of annual budget was reserved for Jammu and Kashmir the past 3 decades. If my State (Karnataka) had gotten that kind of allocation from annual budget we would have transformed Karnataka into a World class State with Hi-Tech infrastructure and excellent education and health system. Not to mention the amount we would have spent on tourism! With the limited budget we could do so much. You get 10% of the annual budget every year for 30 years. And yet Jammu and Kashmir is lacking majorly in infrastructure and education. Who gobbled up all that money? Muftis, Abdullahs or the Geelanis? You can't even blame Jammu or Ladakh for this mismanagement and corruption because they were under your mercy. So stop lying. We are not stupid. We have done enough for Kashmir and did not get anything back in return. You couldn't manage anything. Neither monetary management nor instill social harmony. You were a failure in all counts. A failed society in Paradise. What can be a greater shame than that? Now that Article 370 has been abrogated, we'll do the management. You will then notice the real difference in the next few years once Terrorism has been reigned in. You'll also see what you lost in the process all these 30 years. Today Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh should have been a model state with World class infrastructure for the kind of budget it received for 30 years. But unfortunately it is not. But now it'll be and you'll be a witness to that transformation. At least this time don't repeat the blunders of the past.

And before you point your finger at others first introspect on how big a failure you have been. Both as a movement and in your attitude towards your fellow brothers and sisters from another Religion. You fanned the hatred. Now don't cry if people at the receiving end of your hate are angry. We all have a limit. Don't test those limits.

I’m not Kashmiri, my grandfather belonged to Gulbarga (in fact, Mirwaiz and Geelani hate my community and would have me executed and thrown out of Islam even though a shrine in Srinagar is holy place for them ) and I wasn’t saying there was 75% reservation. I am talking about the admissions results in 1986 [1] esp for premedical studies. You cannot seriously tell me 95% of valley is bagging 25% of seats without there being serious underinvestment in education on both federal and state levels. As for my class fellow, she is professor at Stanford now, you can ask her if she thinks I am racist.

[1] https://kashmirlife.net/muffed-99889/

I’ll concede that not all of those 75% could be domiciled Kashmiri (ie Pandit/Sikh)

Is this going to be a preview of the post-Article 370 wonders to come?


Tell me Young Techie, how do you tell the difference between someone who is alleged to have spread rumours and someone speaking the truth?

And when you say you totally support it, do you support everything the BJP has done?

Seems like your comments motivated mainly based on anti BJP than the topic in discussion. Just to keep your mind at peace, From this point onwards, I 100% support BJP.

The India government is taking action against spreading misinformation & fake news via VPN enabled social media. What is wrong here. Title is misleading and sensationalist.

For one, it's unconstitutional.

From the article:

> Mishi Choudhary, executive director of New Delhi-based Software Law and Freedom Centre, said that the authority did not need to chase people who are using VPNs, and should restore internet access like any other democratic society.

“Any alleged rumors can be addressed by putting out accurate and more information through the same social media platforms. Content-based restrictions on speech can only be allowed within the restrictions established by the Constitution and not in an ad hoc manner,” she said.

It isn't unconstitutional. Quote the Act that prohibits the Government from taking precautionary measures. We are dealing with a region that has seen countless terror attacks since the Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s. For the first time since August 5th there has been peace in the valley with no major terror attacks. If restrictions of communications helps attain peace then so be it. I rather communications be cut than have lives lost needlessly because some deranged lunatic decided to blow himself up in the name of his Religion. And do not forget that the Pulwama Attack is still fresh in the minds of Indians.

What's "wrong" is that it's very difficult to tell the difference between this and "The Indian government is taking action against spreading information and news via VPN enabled social media"

So if it's difficult to tell the difference, why celebrate one side of the story and that too by a western media which has no idea about the ground realities in Kashmir. The article is also written by someone who is not an expert in political journalism. Techcrunch should stick what it does best.

What are these ground realities, pray tell?

Can anyone contribute a source which doesn't break EU regulations by forcing me to accept cookies?

In this context, this is a very funny "first world problem".

This is not the same coverage, but it does seem related, and I'm reasonably sure that the response that is served to Europeans is compliant with European regulations.


"Something went wrong. We're sorry. This page failed to Outline."

> by forcing me to accept cookies

I really don't understand this mindset of a default behavior (e.g. use of cookies) is equivalent to _forcing_ something on someone. You have lots of choices around cookies because the program that stores and shares them is under your own control. Which sites you visit is under your control. Your Internet connection is under your control.

God knows why we need a nanny state that represents a small minority of the world to decide how the world wide web should work.

Make your choice: Accept that the next time you visit they will remember you.


Choose not to visit.


Delete your cookie

or use curl

or go private browser mode

or hunt in google for the title to read the cache page

or pay someone to copy over the contents to text.

Plenty of choices. I'd go private browser mode in your case. Well I would just accept the cookie.

It's not really about the cookies - it does not limit itself to "the next time you visit they will remember you" - even in the case of private browser mode (or if deleting cookies) it won't proceed without "agreeing" to the use of cookies and other similar technologies (i.e. whatever fingerprinting methods they can figure out - their privacy policy lists that they're tracking pretty much everything that I could think of, including my actions on other sites) and granting permission to a very large number of third parties to use this data in the future.

That's not reasonable. Consent must be freely given (and if provision of services is conditional on consent, then it shall be deemed not freely given), it must be opt-in and it shall be as easy to withdraw consent as it was to give it. And if your legal basis for processing data is something other than consent, then don't ask to "agree" to it, implying that this happens with consent - but in their case their privacy policy does list consent as the basis for processing this data.

Their current behavior of "surely you'll permit us to track everything" is both immoral and illegal, and it should be eliminated, not tolerated.

It's worth noting that they are an exception. While various "GDPR-banners" are quite popular, as a matter of principle, I never agree to anything on them and refuse consent to everything, and it turns out that it's not a problem for most sites, they note the preference, follow the law and it ends at that. GDPR has no issues with storing a non-personalized cookie noting that preference, which some sites do, so as not to ask every time. So the fact that Verizon Media is agressively flounting the law is not appropriate. Most of the fault probably lies with the Irish regulator, which has been far too lax in proactively policing the many international companies (including Verizon Media) which have their EU operations and their GDPR compliance domiciled in Ireland, but I'm sure we'll force things to change eventually.

In this case I don't understand.

They ask for consent. You choose to provide it.

If you are putting forward the idea that you should be able to not consent but still use the service or view the content. Anyone not providing access is doing an illegal act in Europe. I'm not sure that's fair either. You choose to visit the site.

Well, I personally choose not to provide it as a matter of principle, but regarding those who do click "agree" the position (both legal and moral) is that they don't really choose to consent.

GDPR permits multiple legal basis of processing data (e.g. the need for data to fulfil a specific contract), but they generally don't apply to processing all kinds of semi-relevant data for targeting advertising. Consent is a legal basis under GDPR if and only if it's truly voluntary; one of the key criteria is consent being feely given. You can't "trade" something for that permission (give me consent and I'll give you X, refuse consent and I'll refuse X), it must be freely given because the user wants to give that data, because they believe that it's good for them for the service provider to have and use that data. I.e. you can voluntarily choose to allow tracking for advertising purposes because in that case the ads are more relevant to you, or you can refuse that tracking if you think that this is not what you want.

So the idea is that privacy and consent to violations of privacy is not something that I can trade away (e.g. by choosing to visit a site) - it's not for sale, they can't buy it, I can't sell it. Offering something in return (e.g. the ability to visit the site) can not be a way to obtain consent. If refusing consent will result in access being revoked or some other bad consequences (e.g. losing discounts) then it's not considered a free choice. (GDPR recital 42 "... Consent should not be regarded as freely given if the data subject has no genuine or free choice or is unable to refuse or withdraw consent without detriment.)

They can deny people access to the site. But if they extract a click on "I agree" by forcing to choose to click there or go away, then that click does not and should not be counted as a consent to violate people's privacy; these rights are fundamental and they can't be given away with a click or sold for some money or traded away as a point in, for example, an employment contract. Revoking access (or threatening to revoke access) to a site is not a legally (and morally) valid way to gain permission to violate the privacy all their users.

And that is the intended point of GDPR - there should be no way for web companies to structure their legal or technical mechanisms in a way where they somehow obtain a permission to abuse the data of all their users. They can use some data of everyone for specific limited purposes (e.g. the legitimate need clause). They can use data for whatever purposes specific people choose to volunteer. But they do not, and should not have a way to "extract permission" to simply sell all their users privacy to third parties; nothing they can do in their privacy policy or terms and conditions or web click-throughs can provide that - the intended result is that they can't get the permission from everyone to do everything, and they actually have to stop doing many of the things they currently list in their privacy policy.

And that's what I want Verizon Media to do - it's not that they haven't done some ritual to legitimize their tracking, it's that their current tracking is fundamentally illegitimate no matter what legalese they write in their terms and conditions, and they should stop the mass invasive tracking of all their users except the minority who might intentionally opt-in for whatever reason. And if they don't stop it, they need to be forced to stop.

Blocking Javascript seems to be enough to read the article

Right Click -> Open link in new private window

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