Monthly Archives: February 2015

Twitter Is Now Censoring Critical And Dissenting Digital India Related Tweets

Twitter Is Now Censoring Critical And Dissenting Digital India Related TweetsTwitter is a wonderful micro blogging and communication platform that connects billions of people over the Internet. Its users can share updates and information in real time thereby exercise their right to speech and expression. Of course, speech and expression is subject to reasonable restrictions but a constructive criticism and opposite view cannot be considered to be controlled by reasonable restrictions by any civilized nation. This is more so for a country like India that is not only a democratic system but is also ruled by the Constitution of India.

Unfortunately, speech and expression in general and civil liberties in cyberspace in particular are under severe attack from none other than our own government. For instance, Twitter has been censoring Aadhaar related tweets for many years on behalf of Indian government. Now Twitter has started censoring critical and dissenting tweets about Digital India, a project portrayed to be a digital empowerment initiative of Indian government.

Praveen Dalal, whose tweets on Digital India are censored on a regular basis, believes that far from digital empowerment, Digital India has become the Biggest Panopticon of Human Race. Any tweet about this “Digital Panopticon of India” is also censored by Twitter almost in “Real Time”. It is not the purpose of Twitter to be a “Media Agent” of Indian Government and censor tweets that are criticising the Digital India project for its Weaknesses, Illegalities and Unconstitutionalities.

We can understand that Twitter has to keep in mind its commercial interests in India as well but this does not mean that it disregards the civil liberties and human rights altogether. It is high time for Twitter to think seriously in this direction.

Digital India Is Biggest Panopticon Of Human Race The Moment It Is Clubbed With E-Surveillance Tool Named Aadhaar

Praveen Dalal-Managing Partner Of Perry4Law And CEO Of PTLBDigital India is a very ambitious and significant project by Indian Government. However, it is also suffering from some “Shortcomings” that have still not been tackled properly. As a result the Digital India project is heading towards rough waters and may face many legal and technological challenges in the near future.

I would not discuss all these shortcomings in this article but am focusing on a particular problem that has taken the shape of a “Civil Liberties Violations Menace”. Yes I am talking about the E-Surveillance and Eavesdropping aspects of Indian Government projects like Central Monitoring System (CMS), National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA), National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC), etc. To make the matter worst, Indian Government has been postponing Intelligence Agencies Reforms for many decades.

However, nothing can beat the draconian e-surveillance project named Aadhaar that has been designed to take a complete control over the digital lives of Indians. Surprisingly both the Indian Parliament and Supreme Court of India are watching helplessly while the Executive branch has usurped the “Legislative Powers” and literally mocked all sorts of Judicial Review.

Take the example of the interim order (PDF) issues by Supreme Court of India mandating that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for availing various public services. Although Central Government has informed the Supreme Court that Aadhaar is not mandatory for availing public services yet it has been made compulsory for almost all the digital and non digital services in India. As a result a wonderful project like Digital India would be heading for rough waters if our Judiciary is even “Remotely Sensitive” to Civil Liberties Violation issues.

This is also not the end of the story. When everything is clubbed with Aadhaar, it gives a complete control to our E-Surveillance loving Government over our digital and non digital lives. There is nothing left to claim Informational Privacy from our own Government. Privacy is our Human Right and not a Government charity and it should not be taken away with direct or indirect methods.

What is most anguishing is the “Deafening Silence” of the Parliament of India and Indian Supreme Court to resolve these issues. Why Parliament has abdicated its “Legislative Powers” in favour of the Executive and why Supreme Court has not taken the Executive stringently cannot be explained with any rationale explanation. However, in the absence of exercise of their “Constitutional Duties” we can safely conclude the “Separation of Powers” under the Indian Constitution has “ceased to exist” in the present and turbulent E-Surveillance era of India.