Tuesday, March 8, 2011

259 - Human Rights Protection In Indian Cyberspace - Techno Legal News

Posted on 6th October, 2010 by Baljeet Singh

In this Guest Column, Praveen Dalal has analysed the sardonic state of civil liberties in India. As a part of his Protecting Human Rights in Cyberspace initiative, he has started a series that would provide techno legal solutions against illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance and privacy violations.

The crucial balance and equilibrium proposed by the founding fathers of Indian Constitution has been disturbed by the Executive branch of Indian Constitution. The Executive branch has totally hijacked the Parliamentary Role and is implementing Projects having “Constitutional Implications” without any “Parliamentary Approval”.

If Projects that violate the basic Human Rights and Civil Liberties like Right to Privacy are implemented without any Law and Parliamentary approval, the role of Parliament in Indian Constitution is highly debatable.

For instance, purely E-Surveillance Projects like Aadhar/UID Project, NATGRID, CCTNS, etc have far reaching and adverse consequences for the Fundamental Rights of Indians. Still the Executive did not find it fit to enact suitable laws and provide adequate safeguards against the same.

Further, “Unconstitutional Authorities” like the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), etc are also operating without any accountability, transparency and legal authority. Further, there is also no “Parliamentary Scrutiny” of these authorities.

With the passing of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (IT Act 2008), the Cyber Law of India has been made an instrumentality of illegal, unaccountable and Unconstitutional e-surveillance in India. With massive phone taping and e-surveillance history of India, conferring such a power in the hands of Executive and its Agencies is really troublesome. In this scenario, only “Outlaws” would have Human Rights in Indian Cyberspace.

India also does not have any dedicated Privacy Law and Data Protection Law. With the proposed use of Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) by Indian Government, more “Privacy Violations” issues would arise in future. This is more so when Indian Government cannot even curb the highly nuisance creating Telemarketing vice in India.

I firmly believe that Indian Government is not going to change its stand and we have to preserve and protect our Civil Liberties ourselves. That is why I dedicated a resource titled “Protecting Human Rights in Cyberspace” (PHRIC) to suggest “Techno-Legal Measure” in this regard.

Now with this series, I would discuss the available “Techno-Legal Measures” to defeat illegal and Unconstitutional e-surveillance by Governmental Authorities and Agencies as well as by Private Individuals. Of course, these measures are available against illegal and unconstitutional acts or omissions alone and are not available against “Lawful Interceptions” and other e-surveillance activities authorised by a proper Court of Law. A background articles for safeguarding against illegal eavesdropping and sniffing has already been provided by me and more in this regard would be discussed subsequently.