The ban on VLC media player appears to have been in place for around nine months and the reason is still unclear.
VLC media player, a free and open-source streaming platform, is now available for Indian customers after a lengthy ban. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology lifted the ban on the popular platform on Monday.
Internet Freedom Foundation (or IFF), a non-governmental organization that advocates digital rights and liberties, tweeted that the Ministry has decided to remove its ban on the website of VLC media player. “IFF provided legal support to @videolan throughout this process,” it added. The official Twitter handle of VLC confirmed and retweeted the same.
In October, VLC media player’s developer and operator, VideoLAN, sent a legal notice to the Indian IT and Telecom ministries saying that they failed to notify the company before the ban and were not given a chance to explain.
The ban on VLC media player appears to have been in place for around nine months and the reason is still unclear. Some reports suggest that the website was blocked because of its connections with some Chinese companies, when in fact VideoLAN is based out of France. Some other speculations suggest the government unblocked the website due to a misinterpretation of a security warning from earlier this year. Security firm Symantec reported in April that a Chinese hacker group named Cicada had used VLC to gain remote access to the computers of several users in countries including India, the U.S., Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, and several others. However, there is no official reason given for the ban or its lifting.
With such moves, the government is pushing the citizens to “shady websites that are running hacked version of VLC. So they are endangering their own citizens with this ban,” VideoLAN president and lead developer Jean-Baptiste Kempf told TechCrunch in an interview.
After the lifting of the ban, the VLC media player’s official website displays more than 73 million downloads so far. Users can simply visit the website to download the media player.