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Why has government banned VLC Media Player in India?

India Today logo India Today 16-08-2022 Sneha Saha

The developer of VLC Media Player, VideoLAN, said that the media player was banned in India earlier this year. To be specific, VLC Media Player was banned in the country on February 13. The VLC website and the download link have been down since then. However, users who have the software installed are still available to access it. The company says it has no clue why the government banned the platform. Here are 5 things we know about the VLC ban in India so far.

VLC Media Player banned in India

- VideoLAN has officially confirmed the ban that almost no one noticed. The official reason behind the ban hasn't been revealed yet but some reports suggest that VLC Media Player has been banned because the platform was used by China-backed hacking group Cicada for cyber attacks.

- The blocked VLC Media Play website shows "the website has been blocked as per order of the Ministry of Electronics and Information technology under IT Act, 2000" message. The act deals with the primary law in India dealing with cybercrime and electronic commerce.

- VideoLAN President revealed that the VLC Media Player is working on some ISPs also not for some. Commenting on the ban, the company President said, "we got banned since a few months, and we don't know why. (According to my stats, it is since the 13 February 2022). We've asked the Indian government and we got no answer. We probably did not ask the right place though. I wish I knew how to ask properly." "The weirdest is that some ISP are blocking it and some are not. So why is that the case? Are some ISP not listening to the government? VLC and VideoLAN are quite apolitical (we only fight against DRM and for open source) and VLC is a pure tool that can read anything," he added.

- Currently, VLC Media Play website and download link are blocked. In other words, users who already have the VLC player installed should still be able to use it to watch their media files. New users will not be able to get VLC. Meanwhile, the developer said that VLC doesn't collect user information at any given point. In response to a Twitter user, VideoLAN said, "VLC works perfectly without our servers: we don't collect info, we don't require user accounts, we don't spy on people (telemetry). So once you have VLC, you don't need our servers, for it to work."

- The Indian government hasn't yet confirmed why VLC Media Player has been banned in the country. The media player, on the other hand, is seeking help on Twitter since it has no clue about the reason behind the sudden ban.

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