Indian IT ministry lifts download ban on VLC media playertext_fields
New Delhi: The Ministry of Electronics and IT has lifted its nine-month ban on the download of VLC media player, one of the most popular tools in South Asia. India is VLC's biggest market and most users download the software from the official website.
VideoLAN, a popular software developer, filed a legal notice last month seeking an explanation from the government for the block order. Delhi-based advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) provided legal support to VideoLAN, reported TechCrunch.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) took action because 'the application had been communicating with servers of a previously banned app and transferring user information to a hostile country,' read a report in The Indian Express. The Union Home Ministry requested that the website be blocked.
After the ban was lifted, IFF tweeted: "VICTORY! @GoI_MeitY has decided to remove its ban on the website of VLC media player. IFF provided legal support to @videolan throughout this process. #WhatTheBlock."
IFF also said the ban was put in place without any prior notice or giving VideoLAN an opportunity for a hearing. This is against the 2009 Blocking Rules and the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India. "This was strange because VLC Media Player is an open-source software which is used by nearly 80 million Indians," added the organisation.
VideoLAN president and lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf said most major internet service providers are banning the site with diverse techniques. After the ban was imposed, the site immediately saw a drop of 80% in traffic from the South Asian market
VLC media player has over 3.5 billion downloads worldwide and it is popular because it requires no internet access or connectivity to a particular service to operate.