India's New Internet Rules Criticized

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Dovah, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    India’s new Internet rules criticized


    NEW DELHI — New Internet rules that seek to enhance national security and limit offensive content have sparked an angry debate about free speech in the world’s largest democracy.

    The regulations prohibit Web sites and service providers from hosting information that could be regarded as “harmful,” “blasphemous” or “insulting” to any other nation, among other things. Providers are expected to remove such content within 36 hours of being notified of a complaint, and search engines, Web sites and cyber cafes can be held liable for objectionable material.

    The Indian government says that the rules try to maintain a balance between freedom and security, and that officials studied laws in other democratic countries before writing their own.

    But Internet users, bloggers and activists say the regulations are among the most restrictive in the world, and they are lobbying lawmakers to raise their concerns in Parliament when it meets this week.

    The government posted the rules on its Web site for public input between February and April and has since approved them. Parliament will be informed about them this month, but that step is considered a formality.

    But one official said the government would still be willing to listen to dissenting views and could consider changes.

    “We believe in freedom of speech through all media, including the Internet, although there are some codes of conduct that are expected to be followed by all,” said Sachin Pilot, deputy minister for communication and information technology. “We have sought to balance the rights of consumers with those of service providers and other stakeholders in this space. We must draw a distinction between freedom of expression and freedom of expression with intent to harm or defame someone.”

    India has the third-largest number of Internet users in the world — 110 million. That number is expected to rise rapidly in this country of 1.2 billion people, about half of whom are younger than 25.

    Critics say the rules give the government unbridled power to block Web sites and force any portal, search engine or cyber cafe to cooperate for vague reasons, such as safeguarding the sovereignty of India or to keep public order.

    “With this kind of blanket surveillance regime, we are on a very slippery slope,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Center for Internet and Society in the southern city of Bangalore. “The language is so vague that it is open to arbitrary interpretation. . . . In comparison with other democracies in North America and Europe, the Indian rules appear to be on the China end of the spectrum.”

    A Google India spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “A free and open Internet is essential for the growth of the digital economy and for safeguarding freedom of expression. If Internet platforms are held liable for third-party content, it would lead to self-censorship and reduce the free flow of information.”

    Activists say the rule holding cyber cafes liable is unprecedented.

    Internet cafes are required to install surveillance cameras and demand identification from customers . At cyber cafes across India, people surf the Web next to large signs warning that they are being monitored.

    But under the new rules, cafes will also have to keep a record of each user’s browsing activity and submit those records to the government every month.

    Investigators have found vital clues to bombings in e-mails accessed at cyber cafes, and authorities say tighter rules could help them with their inquiries. After attacks in Mumbai last month, police closed several small cyber cafes in nearby villages that were operating without a license.

    “We definitely want cyber cafes to be governed by unified rules for the interest of the national security and maintain the customer details,” said Amrita Choudhury, director of the Cyber Cafe Association of India. “However, that would be a lot of data for a cyber cafe owner to handle. We would urge the government to create a secure central repository. We would not want the data to fall into the wrong hands.”

    Internet activists say that such stringent regulations will be difficult to implement. The objective, Abraham said, “appears to be to scare citizens into self-censorship.”

    In recent months, anti-corruption crusaders have used the Internet to mobilize tens of thousands of people across India to protest a series of graft scandals engulfing the government. Analysts say the new rules would probably stifle this growing online resistance.

    “The sharpest and most vocal criticism of the Indian government and the political leadership has emerged from the Internet,” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an independent lawmaker who is mobilizing opposition to the regulations. “But now a sword hangs over these people who blog and debate freely. This is not good for a country that has a predominantly young population, expanding middle class and is turning more urban.”

    India’s new Internet rules criticized - The Washington Post
     
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  3. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    ^^Hard days for freedom of speech ahead, get ready for Raulistan.
     
  4. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The choice is simple, either let external elements decide your fate or let desi babus continue to rule you.
     
  5. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    This only enhances the capacity and capability of Congress, Media and Babus to loot without anyone even raising the voice; this is what happens when people continue to vote for crooks - thugs start behaving like dictators even in a democrazy like ours!
     
  6. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    hmm,
    If this passes would we not be allowed to even insult Pakistan. :confused:
     
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  7. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    This was the first thing that came to my mind.....
     
  8. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    what are these rules, can someone please post the content, also any guidelines for a community like ours, please share.

    thanks.
     
  9. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    ...................................................dp
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  10. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Govt's world over have woken upto the power of the social media and its new found ability to shape national discourse with wide raging political and social ramification.If the social media brought revolution to the Arab streets,India's our long found frustration with institutionalized corruption and the elected representatives complicity in enabling and perpetuating the same came to head when the nation responded spontaneously to the Anna hazaare protest through fast.

    India's feudal democratic oligarchs were successful in coaxing the corporate media,print and later the electronic media into becoming more pliable,but social media is some thing it cannot control with standard tools of intimidation and reward,what you cannot control then has to be suppressed.

    The suggestion that Internet users may not publish anything that against a foreign country which has friendly relationship with indian is plain ridiculous,Indian citizen exercise their adult franchise to elect law makers and govt whose responsibility is to frame national and international policies that further the interest of the citizen of India.It is the people of India who decide with whom India shall maintain friendly or hostile relationships.It is then the sovereign right of the Indian citizen to freely express his opinion on foreign state,friendly or hostile,it is the duty of the state to formulate foreign policies while keeping in mind these collective and varied opinions.

    When the communists in east Germany started building the wall that divided the city of Berlin,East Germans were told it was to protect them from the west,however as it turned out more than defending east from west it meant to contain east from the rest of the world.The govt has to tell the people in clear cut terms how suppression of free dissemination of information aides national security.Let the govt not build a cyber wall to contain the citizens right to express freely,all in the name of defending his life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
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  11. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    No power on this earth can stop that. Forget democratic right....it is basic human right to abuse bhosdi pakii kuttey.
     
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