India Enacts Repressive Online Speech Laws

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Government#international#politics#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts center_img curt hopkins A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… An innocuous-sounding set of rules called the “Information Technology (Electronic Service Delivery) Rules, 2011” [pdf] went quietly into effect last month in India. These rules, possessing the force of law, practically guarantees that no user of electronic communications in one of the world’s largest countries will ever be completely safe from persecution again. Under the new rules, anyone who objects to content online will be able to effect that content’s immediate removal. The justifications for removal are so extensive and so vague that virtually anything will qualify for removal. “Won’t someone please think about the children!?” Here are the many, many grounds upon which a disgruntled person may now compel the censorship of online content in India.That content…(a) belongs to another person and to which the user does not haveany right to;(b) is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory,obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive ofanother’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable,disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering orgambling, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever;(c) harm minors in any way;(d) infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietaryrights;(e) violates any law for the time being in force;(f) deceives or misleads the addressee about the origin of suchmessages or communicates any information which is grosslyoffensive or menacing in nature;(g) impersonate another person;(h) contains software viruses or any other computer code, files orprograms designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality ofany computer resource;13(i) threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty ofIndia, friendly relations with foreign states, or or public order orcauses incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence orprevents investigation of any offence or is insulting any othernation.My favorite is “harm minors in any way.” In any way, mind you. Some are more equal than others.This law will allow anyone – let’s be reasonable, anyone with money or power – to shut down any critic, journalist, blogger, satirist, religious or ethnic minority, woman, gay person, union member, attorney, activist, loud-mouthed poor person or smart aleck. Theoretically, the law is open to anyone. In other words, a poor farmer could demand a rich software CEO take down a blog post. That, of course, won’t happen. However, should the farmer start a blog criticizing the CEO for riding around on an American software tycoon’s cigarette boat while his employees go without health care, that executive could demand the blog be censored because it interferes with “friendly relations with foreign states.”“Intermediaries,” such as ISPs and Internet cafes, are also liable for any such criminal act. So, the small Internet cafe our farmer uses would also be charged with breaking the law. This sort of “law” is common in highly repressive, authoritarian, non-democractic countries. India deserves better. This law is, plain and simple, a tool of control, one that doesn’t belong in a democracy. Of course, given India’s authoritarian decisions regarding everything from the Blackberry to national ID cards, the term “democracy” in this context seems a little inexact. Yahoo Bangalore photo by Eirik Refsdahl | farm photo by Parag Purandare | other source: New York Timeslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *