Against Cyber Censorship

Time and again, we have discussed about silly laws. These laws are ridiculous to such an extent -  you would wonder what would have the law makers thought about while making them.

One such law has recently been proposed by the Government of India under the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008. This draft deals with the due diligence to be observed by some entities - being referred to as "Intermediaries".

Now question 1. Who are these Intermediaries?

An intermediary is defined as any entity, which on behalf of another receives, stores or transmits any electronic record. Importantly, Telecommunication Networks, Web-hosting and Internet Service Providers, Search Engines, Blogs, Online payment and Auction sites as well as Cyber Cafes have been classified as Intermediaries.

And question 2. What are these intermediaries supposed to do?

As part of the due diligence, they are supposed to be responsible for the contents that they host.

What does this mean for the bloggers?

Well, it means that the bloggers are responsible for the contents that they host on their blog. I would say - nothing wrong with that. 

But if the contents that they host would be reviewed by someone, and if some steps are taken to restrain those contents, views and opinions from being published - then it would mean that the Freedom of Expression is being curtailed.

Blogs give an opportunity to an individual to share their thoughts. And a chance to the general public to share their counter views. And if such healthy discussions are being clipped, it would not reflect nicely on a democratic country like India.

After all, we do not want to go the China way. If I see the visitors to my humble blog, I hardly find anyone from mainland China.

Once when I asked my friend in China to check out my writings, she said sadly - the site does not exist. The Chinese government had blocked my site.

Well, we don't want such a situation to exist in India. India has given her people a chance to voice their opinions and thoughts. And it should continue this way - for the development of the nation and her people.

If you are interested in reading more about Internet Freedom - how some countries have taken steps to curb it and how the people have overcome such difficulties - you should have a look at this article.

This article has classified Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Turkmenistan and Vietnam as  "Enemies of the Internet".

Other countries are classified as "Countries Under Surveillance".  You might be surprised to find some first world countries - like Australia and France - in this list.

We should hope that better sense prevails and such laws are not passed. Only then we can ensure we have an inclusive growth - and voices of the people being heard.

And lastly, before I conclude, it will be worthwhile to note that 12th March is observed as "World Day Against Cyber Censorship".

Here is the newly compiled list of nations and the leaders of the nations who are considered as opponents of the Freedom of the Internet.

Catch more here for discussions on this topic.
Against Cyber Censorship Against Cyber Censorship Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Monday, March 14, 2011 Rating: 5

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