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India govt puts a ban on file-sharing app WeTransfer

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has put a ban on one of the most used file-sharing sites, WeTransfer in view of the public interest and national security. According to the order issued on May 18, the department had provided a notice to internet service providers or ISPs across India to ban two specific URLs (links) on WeTransfer. 

Another notice was to ban the entire site, said a Mumbai Mirror report.

It is not clear what kind of crucial data the two URLs contained due to which the ministry had put a ban on the access of WeTransfer. 

To verify, we tried using WeTransfer and successfully sent a file on an Airtel cellular connection. This essentially means that a few of the ISPs are yet to implement the ban. 

Headquartered in the Netherlands, WeTransfer is a cloud-based online platform that allows the users to transfer different types of files up to 2 GB for free to others on the internet. A premium version of the service allows users to share files of size as large as 20 GB as well. 

Advocating and putting a ban on global internet companies for national security and safeguard citizens is not a new phenomenon in India. The government recently cautioned citizens on the use of a video conferencing app Zoom. TikTok that has over 200 million users in India also has been facing backlash from users for promoting hate and vulgarism.

The ban is causing discomfort to many who have been using WeTransfer for professional works during the lockdown. At present, WeTransfer claims to have over 50 million monthly global users who exchange a billion files a month.

As of now, privacy concern is the only reason cited by the telecom department for the ban. While banning WeTransfer would not solve the menace of sharing hateful content, pornographic materials, and other sensitive content, the government requires to frame and define strict guidelines for national security-related matters.

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