Six years before India shook the global internet by banning TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps, Nikhil Pahwa was trying to convince his country to care about tech policy. It was October 2014, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was selling India’s leaders and public on a vision of a free, Facebook-centric internet that would bring hundreds of millions of people online. Pahwa, the founding editor of the media and technology blog MediaNama, wasn’t buying it. “What Zuckerberg means by internet for all is essentially Facebook for all,” he warned.
Earlier this week, India’s Ministry of Information Technology issued a press release banning 59 apps that the government says pose a “threat to sovereignty and integrity” of the nation. Although the press release does not call out any country by name, the fact that all the apps are Chinese leaves no doubt as to the target.
When the internet went dark in the northern Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir on August 4 last year, photojournalist Junaid Bhat assumed it was just the result of another clampdown. Muslim-majority Kashmir has been in the midst of a three-decade-long armed revolt against the Indian government, and the 12.3 million residents of Jammu and Kashmir have experienced over 175 such shutdowns since 2012. But the following day, India stripped Kashmir of its semi-autonomous statehood, detaining mainstream politicians and sending the region into a state of turmoil. The internet shutdown is still ongoing, five months later.
As Bhat waited for…
DRASS, INDIA — The big male never stood a chance. The villagers didn’t have pitchforks, but they did have stones, and they lobbed them mercilessly, even after the local wildlife department darted the beast as he tried to escape up a rocky escarpment. But it wasn’t meant to be.
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.