Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Censorship Of Internet In India

Internet censorship in India has crossed all the limits. Firstly, we have a bizarre cyber law of India that provides for Internet censorship without any procedural safeguards. Secondly, India has formulated rules that have prescribed stringent Internet intermediary liability in India. Thirdly, there are no dedicated data protection and privacy rights in India.

All these loopholes are allowing Indian government and its agencies to ask for data, information and records from Internet intermediaries of India. Surprisingly, no court order is required to ask for such sensitive and personal information from Internet intermediaries in dominant majority of cases.

Intermediaries liability for cyber law due diligence in India has become very stringent after the information technology amendment act 2008 has been notified. Information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) now carries many e-surveillance, websites blocking and Internet censorship provisions.

Surveillance of Internet traffic in India has become a nuisance for internet intermediaries of India. In fact, Internet intermediaries like Yahoo has already dragged Indian government to court to resist illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance demands of Indian government.

In its petition, Yahoo has raised questions on the right to privacy of a company that stores such sensitive data and to what extent authorities can coerce it to part with the information considered necessary to either track terror perpetrators or thwart future attacks.

It is high time for constitutional courts of India to take notice of these unconstitutional developments and stop the initiatives of Indian government and its agencies before it is too late.