Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is Internet Under Potential Threat?

Internet is facing a growing threat from dictators and draconian nations. The recent example of shutting down the services by internet service providers (ISPs) in Egypt is the example of the former whereas the proposed “internet kill switch” legislation by America is the example of latter.

India is clinging in between these two situations as the sole cyber law of India, i.e. information technology act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000), empowers Indian government and its agencies to do what America is looking for.

Although the approach taken by Egypt would, most probably, not be taken by India as India cannot afford to have a “digital emergency” like its infamous national emergency of 1975. India, on the other hand is about to face the “self defence war” that civil liberty activists and other digital rights activists are bound to fight due to increasing interference of Indian government with constitutional rights of Indians.

For instance, till now India does not have a “Constitutionally Valid” Phone Tapping, E-Surveillance and Lawful Interception Law, informs Praveen Dalal a Supreme Court Lawyer and Leading Techno Legal Expert of India. The Executive Branch of Constitution of India has literally “Hijacked the Constitutional Safeguards” and this Era can be safely termed as an “Electronic Emergency” of India, says Dalal.

Surprisingly, this is happening right in front of and under the nose of our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. It is surprising that the prime minister office (PMO) has not taken account of this situation till now. It is high time for PMO to ensure a constitutionally sound cyber law for India that respects constitutional safeguards.