Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Proactive Self Defense In Cyberspace

Self defence in cyberspace is a concept whose time has come at both national and international level. At the national level of India self defence is required not only against cyber criminals but also against our own over zealous and e-surveillance oriented Indian government. Suggestions have been given in the past that United Nations (UN) must protect human rights in cyberspace as well. However, UN is not serious about protecting human rights in cyberspace.

At the national level, Indian government acquired itself unregulated, illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance, Internet censorship and website blocking powers with no procedural safeguards. The information technology act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) was amended through the information technology amendment act 2008 (IT Act 2008) and this amendment gave unconstitutional and illegal powers to Indian government and its agencies. With the notification of the IT Act, 2008, the journey from welfare state to a police state was completed for India.

Human Rights in Cyberspace are outlawed in India, says Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India. In fact, the IT Act, 2008 has made the sole Cyber Law of India susceptible to the attacks of “Unconstitutionality” as it is now openly and blatantly violating various Fundamental Rights as incorporated in the Constitution of India, informs Dalal.

Instances of website blocking in India and Internet censorship in India have increased a lot. What is more worrisome is the fact that e-surveillance and Internet censorship in India have increased without any lawful interception law in India. Lawful interception law in India is missing and phone tapping in India is done in an unconstitutional manner.

Of all e-surveillance project, nothing is worst than the Aadhar project of India and its implementing unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) headed by Nandan Nilekani. Irrespective of what Nandan Nilekani and Indian government says, Aadhar project and UIDAI are serving a very vicious, evil and nefarious objective of e-surveillance without procedural safeguards. Surprisingly, even Google is censoring results pertaining to Aadhar project and UIDAI and is messing up with search placement results.

Recently, the domain of Blogspot was blocked once again though for a very less duration. However, the reasons for blocking of Blogspot Domain in India are more worrisome as they smack the e-surveillance nature of Indian government. We must fight website blocking and Internet censorship in India with proactive self defence measures keeping in mind the limits when self defence in cyberspace ceases to exist.

India has an exclusive Techno Legal Centre for Protection of Human Rights In Indian Cyberspace (HRPIC). It is spearheaded by Praveen Dalal, who is also the CEO of HRPIC. Indian Government must maintain a “Delicate Balance” between National Security requirements and Protection of Fundamental Rights, suggests Dalal.