HUMAN RIGHTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN NEGLECTED AND BLATANTLY VIOLATED ALL OVER THE WORLD. THESE HUMAN RIGHTS (HR) AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (FR) HAVE NOW TAKEN AN ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT SHAPE IN THE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) DRIVEN WORLD. THE NATIONS ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING “POLICE STATES” AND “ENDEMIC SURVEILLANCE SOCIETIES”. THE VICES OF ILLEGAL E-SURVEILLANCE, PRIVACY VIOLATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, ETC ARE BECOMING COMMON AND WIDELY SPREAD ALL OVER THE WORLD. THIS PLATFORM IS TRYING TO PROVIDE “TECHNO-LEGAL REMEDIES” TO NETIZENS SO THAT THEY MAY PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM THE “OVER ZEALOUS AND OVER CAUTIOUS STATE ACTIONS” THAT ARE BY THEIR VERY NATURE ILLEGAL, UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND INHUMAN.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

FROM WELFARE STATE TO E-POLICE STATE

Those who give up their liberty in exchange for government promises of security, end up with neither liberty nor security-Benjamin Franklin (1759).

With the notification of the Information Technology Act 2008 (IT Act 2008), Indians have lost both liberty and security in cyberspace. The docile nature of Indians is giving the Government of India (GOI) a free hand to compromise not only the liberties and civil rights of the Indians but also to defy the Constitution of India (COI). The procedural safeguards provided by the COI proved to be mere words as there can be no better and bitter example of the blatant violation of the same by GOI. It is also surprising how the Ministry of Law and Mr. Molly cleared a law like this?

Cyberspace by its very nature is uncontrollable. Than what is the purpose of enacting laws like IT Act 2008 and what is the harm if we enact a draconian law like IT Act 2008? This is so because the COI provides proper safeguards and checks upon the Governmental powers. With the IT Act 2008 those restrictions, checks and balances have been removed by the GOI regarding Indian cyberspace that also by a unilateral action.

The silence of Judiciary has put the final nail in the coffin of civil liberties of Indians in cyberspace. The otherwise active and vigilant Judiciary seems to be silent upon the gross e-surveillance and censorship powers conferred by the Executive upon themselves.

If we talk about the technicality as well these provisions would cause more harm than good. For example, when the e-commerce is already threatened by various cyber crimes relaxing the provisions regarding these cyber crimes would shake the confidence of these e-commerce players. Confidential information is already vulnerable and with the proposed plans of installing key loggers at cyber cafes, the same would exclude the use of cyber cafes for these purposes. Although cyber caf├ęs are not a good place to transact confidential matters yet with a poor Internet penetration in India this may still happen.

Also Indians would think twice before sending confidential information on Internet with this chronic surveillance all over India. This is more so when the GOI is moving in the direction of banning use of encryption for online transactions. The Blackberry episode is still fresh in the memory of Indians wherein the GOI has asked the Research in Motion (RIM) to hand over the encryption keys to it. With an already weak cyber security in India, banning use of encryption would take us to the stone age. It is surprising that GOI is still talking about cyber security in India when it is disallowing even the basic operation of cyber security.

Finally, India also does not possess the expertise and capabilities to manage the unconstitutional censorship and surveillance plan. With the present manpower of GOI that seems to be harculian task. The only use of censorship and surveillance seems to be to abuse the same for personal gains and agendas. Neither the citizens of India nor India would be benefited by the present censorship and surveillance plans of GOI.