India lifts download ban on VLC • TechCrunch

India has lifted its download ban on VLC, more than nine months after it mysteriously blocked the official website of the popular media playback software in the South Asian market. VideoLAN, famous software developer, file a legal notice last month to seek explanation from the country’s IT and Telecommunications ministries about the block order.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has lifted a ban on the VLC media player’s website, New Delhi-based Internet advocacy group Freedom Foundation, which provides legal support to VideoLAN, said Monday. . VideoLAN has confirmed the order.

Indian telecom operators started blocking VideoLAN’s official website where it listed links to download VLC, in February of this year, VideoLAN president and lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf told TechCrunch in an earlier interview. India is one of VLC’s biggest markets.

The vast majority of people rely on VLC’s official website to download the popular app.

“Most of the major ISPs [internet service providers] are banning the site, with various techniques,” Kempf said of blocking in India. Once blocked, the site immediately saw an 80% drop in traffic from the South Asian market, he told TechCrunch.

Last month, VideoLAN and the Internet Freedom Foundation used legal means to get answers and remedies around the ban. India’s IT ministry has never made the ban public, but all telecom operators in the country have complied. In its legal notice last month, VideoLAN requested a copy of the block order.

Indian telecom operators have never revealed why they blocked the VideoLan website, but some speculate that it could be due to a misinterpretation of a security warning from earlier this year.

Security firm Symantec reported in April this year that the Cicada hacker group, with ties to the Chinese government, is exploiting VLC Media Player as well as several other popular apps to gain remote access. to the victim’s computer. Kempf said he was never contacted by any government agency.

VLC, downloaded more than 3.5 billion times worldwide, is a local media player that does not require internet access or connection to any particular online service to use most of its features. its. A block on its website does not significantly affect VLC’s existing installation base.

But by blocking the site, India has been pushing its citizens to “shady websites running a hacked version of VLC. So they are endangering their own citizens with this ban,” warned Kempf.


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