VLC threatens to sue DoT and MeitY for blocking website, preventing users from downloading app – Technology News, Firstpost

VideoLAN, the non-profit organization that manages and distributes the open-source media player VLC, has sent a legal notice to India’s Department of Telecommunications and India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology regarding their order to block its URL and ban users from downloading the app.

VLC argues that Indian authorities failed to notify the software developer before banning its website and failed to give it an opportunity to explain. | Image credit: VideoLAN

VideoLAN alleges that Indian regulators failed to notify the software developer before banning its website and failed to give it an opportunity to explain. Indian telecom operators have been blocking the VideoLAN website, where it lists links to download VLC, since February this year.

“Most major ISPs in India block the site, with various techniques,” said Jean-Baptiste Kempfs, president and lead developer of VideoLAN. Telecom operators began blocking the VideoLan website on February 13 this year, when the site saw an 80% drop in traffic from the South Asian market, he added.

VideoLAN has enlisted the help of a local advocacy group called the Internet Freedom Foundation and is using every legal means at its disposal to get answers and a chance for redress. In the notice they sent to the ministry and the DoT, they request a copy of the blocking order for the banning of the VideoLAN website in India and an opportunity to make their case.

VideoLAN argues that the way Indian government departments enforced the website ban violates their own local laws. The letter adds:

Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Information Technology Rules (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Public Access to Information), 2009 (“Blocking Rules”) and the Supreme Court’s decision in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India (2015) 5 SCC 1, government officials issuing a blocking order are required to: (i) use all reasonable efforts to identify the originator or intermediary hosting the information to be blocked, ( (ii) notify that person, (iii) conduct a hearing of that person before the relevant authority, and (iv) provide a copy of a reasoned restraining order to the person concerned before the hearing. Despite this, the URL, which allows users to download VLC, was blocked by the DoT without any notice or opportunity to hear VideoLAN.

“The VideoLAN url ban is shocking because the Indian government itself endorses the use of VLC as part of its Digital India initiative, where it has expressed its intention to use open source software for government applications,” IFF said in a summary. of the opinion.

Pursuant to Rule 8 of the IT Rules 2009 (Blocking Rules) and a Supreme Court ruling, government officials who issue blocking orders must notify that person and also proceed to a hearing before the relevant authority.

In April this year, cybersecurity experts claimed that a China-based hacker group named Cicada used VLC Media Player to deliver malware to systems as part of a cyberattack campaign. supported by the Chinese government. These hackers mainly targeted users who downloaded their files from Videolan.org website.

Researchers from Symantec, a branch of US semiconductor manufacturing company Broadcom, discovered that after gaining access to the target PC, the attacker used the popular VLC Media Player to install a modified loader on compromised devices.

It is likely that the platform was banned along with the 54 Chinese apps that the Indian government banned in February this year. However, VLC is not a China-based software, but is supported and developed by a French group.

“By blocking the website, India is pushing its citizens to shady websites that host pirated versions of VLC, so they are putting their own citizens at risk with this ban,” Kempf said earlier.

In the legal notice, VideoLAN warns that failure to comply with its request will force the open source company to take legal action. “Any such proceeding, if instituted, shall be solely at your risk, expense and for breach of your own rules,” the notice adds.

Comments are closed.