India orders mobile users: “only 5 messages a day”

Featured - August 20th, 2012

In an attempt to “deter the spread of rumours and hate messages of the kind that led to panic among people from the Northeast,” according to the Times of India, the government has ordered citizens, for the next 12 days, not to send more than five SMSs/MMSs a day, carrying no more than 25 Kb of data.

Hysteria caused by spread of rumors of unrest or a terrorist attack caused 30,000 people to flee Bangalore and many in the city to panic, according to the Hindustan Times, and with the Eid-ul-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramadan the government had feared further chaos. Tight security will be in place but there are calls from many more-connected citizens to improve communications infrastructure.

The New York Times reports an Indian security official as calling on the Pakistani government to “investigate Indian claims that ‘elements based in Pakistan’ had orchestrated a fear-mongering misinformation campaign using text messages and social media that helped set off last week’s nationwide panic among migrants from India’s isolated northeastern states.”

There was initial confusion over the ban, which is proving unpopular, as mobile companies struggled to work how they could implement the limit. A previous order stating that users should not be allowed to send “bulk” messages was abandoned as unfeasible.

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