The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir. The Press Information Bureau for Jammu and Kashmir also did not respond.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he was “concerned over reports of restrictions on the Indian-side of Kashmir, which could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.”
A blackout is the most blunt tactic for online control, completely severing communications at the core level. Companies which manage the country’s internet infrastructure can be ordered to cut off certain regions or throttle connections from them, making internet service incredibly slow.
An internet blackout isn’t just annoying, it can be terrifying, cutting people off from key information and spreading concern and disinformation.
When Sri Lanka cut off social media in the wake of terrorist attacks earlier this year, it created an information vacuum that was filled by fake news and prevented legitimate criticism of the government — which later admitted to missing clear warnings of the attacks — from being aired.