Thursday, March 3, 2011

54 - E-Surveillance And Internet Censorship In India By Praveen Dalal - cjnews

E-Surveillance And Internet Censorship In India

Praveen Dalal
India has not enacted adequate safeguards against e-surveillance and Internet censorship activities by its government and its agencies. On the other hand, India has now officially become an e-police state. The sole cyber law of India is incorporated as Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000) that was amended by the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (IT Act 2008).
The IT Act 2008 although provided draconian, unreasonable and sweeping e-surveillance and Internet censorship powers to the agencies and instrumentalities of Indian government yet it deliberately restrained from prescribing any procedural safeguards to prevent their abuses.

Recently Google released the raw estimates of governmental requests regarding disclosure of information stored by it. No surprise India occupies third position for “removal request” and fourth spot for “data requests”.

India must immediately enact a suitable legislation to prevent growing incidence of e-surveillance. India also does not have dedicated and separate privacy laws and data protection law. This is why projects like Aadhar/UID project and Natgrid Projects are fatal for the civil liberties of Indians.

The government of India is not wiling to rectify the situation. In fact the situation is getting worst as now e-surveillance activities of India are supplemented with Internet censorship acts of governmental agencies. Any dissident who has raised a voice against Indian government must be aware of the brutal censorship of his online voices. You might have wondered why your online news and search results have disappeared suddenly without any reason or explanation. This is because known agencies like Cert-In and many unknown and unaccountable agencies are actively enageged in Internet censorship the moment they see any unpleasant topic at Internet.

There is also no whistleblower protection law in India. In these situations self help seems to be the obvious choice for law abiding and constitutionally protected citizens. As an additional step, if you are a law abiding citizen and you suspect that your online transactions and acts are under surveillance you can use the techno-legal recourses mentioned at the Human Rights platform. If you are a Google search fan, you must consider using its Google SSL service that would frustrate a sniffer’s attempts to violate your privacy.