The BlackBerry, the elite, and a question of civil liberties

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by ahmedsid, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    The BlackBerry, the elite, and a question of civil liberties


    The Indian elite is known for many things good, bad and ugly, its ostrich syndrome being one. Any ill that does not plague it, simply does not exist. A liberalised socio-economic regime gives it all the privileges that it barefacedly demands; civil liberties always go to hell and stay there.

    So when civil liberties activists raised the alarm after the Indian laws governing cyberspace and online activities came into force, no one took any cognizance of them. Street dogs after all are wont to bark. At every one, at everything. India Inc was gung ho about development, never mind what that means, and the media was dutifully reflecting this misplaced euphoria. Everyone used the Internet, the Internet made money for everyone, this way and that. Till one fine day.

    That day the Chief Executive Officer of bazee.com, Avnish Bajaj, was arrested in the infamous MMS case after it came to light that a sleaze clip was being sold through the auction site. Action against Baazee was brazenly initiated under the IT Act. The portal was held responsible for the content and transactions conducted on it. And soon the shit hit the proverbial roof.

    The corporate media, rushing to the aid of the corporate bigwig, raised a hue and cry. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called up the Indian government and asked for a fair trial. The news hole remained clogged with stories deploring the actions of the police in Delhi where Bajaj had been arrested. Every other story reminded readers that Bajaj was a Harvard graduate. He didn’t deserve the shit he was getting. Civil liberties soon made way for corporate rights.

    Everything was sorted out finally. Happily so for corporates and the media. That was December 2004.

    Four winters later, in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, an impotent Indian dispensation started looking for scapegoats, cropper had it after all come in preventing, tacking terrorism. As Maoists stepped up operations, these activities came in heaven-sent for the government. On the pretext of tackling Naxalites, the Union government and its state avatars zeroed in on rights activists. The latter cried foul, but the media didn’t give a damn. The elite didn’t either.

    Civil liberties activists, human rights defenders were painted (no, make that “tainted”) in the media as obstructionists. People who had nothing better to do in life. People who were not patriots; as if patriotism is the sole domain of politicians and security forces. All said and done, rights activists were not even heard, leave alone being heeded. Their shrieks were deemed as wolf cries. But there’s an axiomatic truth about wolf cries – the last cry is always true, it is just that no one believes in it. You can safely assume that the earlier calls were hoaxes.

    Operation Green Hunt, etc, did not make a fig of a difference to the elite, of course. The rich and the noveau riche kept minting money for a Prime Minister obsessed with that elusive double digit growth. India kept shining and the elite basked in the glory.

    The government, meanwhile, kept faltering in trying to curb the growth of the Maoists. It instead started gunning for rights activists and all those who disagreed with its means and acts. It did not matter whether the cat was black or white; it after all caught mice. So when they came for the rights activists, the elite did not even make a murmur of a protest in solidarity. Civil liberties after all are for the poor and/or rural people.

    And when they have now come for the elite, no one is saying anything because there is no one left. OK, that is probably a hyperbole. But the fact remains that all this while that the government was trampling on civil liberties in the name of tackling terrorism and insurgencies, this Blackberry-user elite turned a Nelson’s eye to the goings-on.

    Agreed, that all BlackBerry users may not belong to the thick-skinned elite one is talking of, and not all members of this elite may be using the BlackBerry device either. It is a question of trends and associations. But you get the drift of the argument, don’t you?

    The clampdown on BlackBerry services is only the beginning. Google and Skype are next. The clampdown on BlackBerry services is only a manifestation. The evil, if you still have not been able to realise, is the government of the day. Tomorrow it might know you have been reading this. Now, don’t be upset. Stop twiddling your thumbs and start raising your voice.

    http://www.write2kill.in/critiques/general/265.html
     
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  3. BloodRed

    BloodRed Regular Member

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    Blackberry was not following telecom regulations and was asked to follow the law of the land, silly to label it as attack on civil liberties,

    Blackberry had always flouted govt norms: Panel
    Source: Hindustan Times

    New Delhi, Aug. 14 -- BlackBerry services in the country are in violation of the Internet Service Providers (ISP) guidelines regarding encryption of data. According to the guidelines, a licencee has to seek prior permission of the government if the level of encryption is higher than 40-bit key length.

    "In case of BlackBerry, the level of encryption is much higher and very complex. The government has not given permission to any operator to start services without setting up server," a senior official at the Department of Telecommunications told HT.

    "There are guidelines under which this service could not have been provided," former VSNL CMD B.K. Syngal said. "It is strange that the government continued to turn a blind eye for the last few years." An RIM delegation, led by its vice-president Robert E. Crowe, met Home Secretary G.K. Pillai on Friday to discuss issue. Spokespersons of Research in Motion (RIM), the company that runs BlackBerry service, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel (BHARTIARTL.BO : 317.2 -0.35) and Idea declined comment.
     
  4. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    The Writer didnt exactly call it an attack on civil liberty! He just told that, that the creamy layer, addicted to Blackberry is now at the receiving end of what started as a cycle from the bottom!
     

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