Almost a month ago, the Ministry of Information Technology took the unprecedented step of banning 59 apps/services on the purported grounds that these services were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India. At the time it was unclear what a ban entailed and how it would be implemented and/or enforced.
However, the subsequent weeks between companies voluntarily suspending their services, Apple and Google de-listing them from their respective app stores and telecom service providers being ordered to block these apps, the ban has been ‘technically’ enforced from the perspective of an average user that may not want to navigate the world of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and TOR. So, for now, it appears that we have the answer to the second question.
Reports now suggest that 47 more apps could be facing a ban with another 275 being monitored closely.
Forests, trees and branches of the internet
In the context of the stand-off between India and China, these moves have and will be portrayed as a strong response to China. As Alex Stamos (former CSO at Facebook) of Stanford’s Internet Observatory illustrates there are several overlapping considerations – many of these are applicable to India too.
Thus, as far as the future of the internet in India (and even the world) goes, these developments cannot be viewed in isolation. And must be looked at in combination with recent events in India, its stated position on cyber sovereignty as well as global trends.