Indian city of Rajasthan shuts down Internet in whole city to protect hacking of exams

In an unprecedented event, the authorities of the Indian state of Rajasthan decided to cut off Internet access to millions of citizens in order to avoid cheating in the Rajasthan Eligibility Exam for Teachers (REET), an online test that aspiring teachers must submit as part of their selection process.

The Rajasthan education authority estimates that around 1.5 million people will take this test online, contesting one of the 40,000 vacancies offered by the state.

One of the main concerns of the authorities is the possibility that applicants cheat taking advantage of the test being presented remotely, so it has been determined the imposition of an Internet cut from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. on the day of the REET test, which could affect almost 9 million people.

Security researchers had access to notifications sent by the local government, announcing the blocking of wireless Internet services, instant messaging apps and social networks. The state of Rajasthan will allow citizens to make voice calls and wired internet connection with some restrictions necessary for the proper implementation of the test.

The measure has already become very unpopular and generated a strong response from the non-profit organization Indian Software Freedom Law Center, as they consider that these closures generate economic losses and mitigate access to information, a risk scenario in times of pandemic.

On the other hand, some users find it laughable that the authorities have to take drastic measures to prevent aspiring public education employees from cheating on a test that they should present without problems.

Residents of Rajasthan fear that these measures could become regular, which would undoubtedly undermine the rights of access to information, something that already affects ethnic minorities in India such as Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.

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