Indian state cuts off internet for millions to stop cheating in exams

1.6 million people sat teaching eligibility test, chasing 40,000 jobs

The Indian state of Rajasthan yesterday cut off internet access to millions of citizens, in order to prevent cheating in an exam.

The exam in question is the Rajasthan Eligibility Exam for Teachers (REET) – a test that, as its name implies, is a requirement to be employed as a teacher.

Rajasthan's informational website predicts that over 1.5 million people will sit the test in their quest to fill one of 40,000 teaching job vacancies in the state. The test hasn't been run for two years.

Indian news reports claim than over 1.6 million people took the test on Sunday, but social media is awash with reports of chaos across the state after internet outages were imposed from 6am to 6pm to prevent cheating. The Register estimates at least 8,500,000 people were cut off from the internet for the day.

The Register has sourced and translated one of the notices imposing the internet shutdown. It requires blocking internet services, messaging apps, and social media. Voice calls were permitted, as were wired internet connections (but as we reported last week, just 24 million of India's 808 million broadband subscriptions are wired).

The imposed outage did not go down well.

The Indian Software Freedom Law Centre objected on grounds that "Internet shutdowns are bound to cause economic loss, an impact on education, healthcare and other welfare schemes.

"An internet shutdown during a pandemic can be especially grave considering citizens depend on the internet to get information, work and study."

Others found the situation laughable.

Another reaction The Register spotted sought to remind residents they don't always have to live online.

But Rajasthani citizens appear to have shrugged it off. Because the state has done it before, for the same reasons.

While residents of Rajasthan may have been able to shrug off the outage, other Indians in the Muslim-majority territory of Jammu and Kashmir pointed out that they have it much worse. They have endured over a year of internet shutdowns on 'security grounds' – grounds that many feel are dubious at best. And more than likely further shutdowns will occur, given the political and religious tensions in the region. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022