Big Brother Watching Everything – Part 1

Under the guise of internal security and some random reasons, our privacy and rights are being deeply impacted. Let us put various elements together:

  • According to a friend I spoke to, the recent restrictions on SMS have less to do with telemarketing and more to do with the government’s desire to prevent recurrence of April and August type mass mobilisation of people through SMS. Hence, the restrictions like 100 messages daily per SIM and the planned 5 paise termination charge on SMS. Apparently, the government folks were quite spooked with the way SMS was used to garner people and spread protests across the country.
  • Digvijay Singh has filed cases against 8 websites and 22 people. This is a test of the new IT rules. The eventual goal here is to muzzle what people say on the Internet and social websites. Or at least scare people and websites enough that makes them fall in line.
  • The new rules for launching TV channels have increased dramatically the licence fees to be paid. This will constrain new launches. Also, from what I have heard, news channels are under the scanner for the comments made by anchors during the August protests.

There’s more scary stuff.

Continued tomorrow.

8 thoughts on “Big Brother Watching Everything – Part 1

  1. Rajesh, if ever you are muzzled by India, send me your material by email/any other method and I’ll publish it on my blog which is hosted in USA.

    Till Australia muzzles free speech as well, I’ll personally defend your rights to challenge the government in India to the very end of my life.

  2. I totally agree with your point of view. The government definitely got scared with August uprising. We need to rethink whether we really secured the freedom which we celebrate.

    This is very scary. Feels like we should run out of this country.

  3. Really very scary … Its Dance on Chance..

    Very few would be able to get real perspective of the issues.

    Thanks for highlighting… Thought provoking

  4. Last desperate attempts by the dying creed of tyrants…will they stop emails? will they stop the internet? will they stop conference calling? How can we challenge the making of such unconstitutional laws. We need to form a trust that hires a large group of smart and motivated lawyers to challenge such laws in the courts and hold these law makers directly responsible and liable for creating public nuisance. Liability is key.

  5. We have to have a set of alternative communication channels that would work in worst case and Internet would certainly help.
    If the 2G cases reach the 2Gs, they might not hesitate to bring another emergency and we must guard against this.
    And the debates in English Channels are pathetic and half truths for most part and they are already killing anna story by taling about RSS links.
    We need to have a set of mass medium to reach vast majority of the nation.
    Finally, is BJP living upto the expectations? or busy with in-fighting?

  6. A little spicy story will help put things in better perspective.

    It seems that once, in times past, when such things were possible, that an ant coerced an elephant to have a three letter act with it.

    It so happened that while this micro process was happening, a particularly prickly jackfruit fell on the elephants head making it say “ouch”

    It seems that ant’s voice was very considerate when it asked the elephant if he needed to slow down?

    Having disposed off that ant and jackfruit pricks, let us turn to matters of more serious concern.

    Had the BJP government introduced such a tender Rajesh and his cohorts would have thrilled to this idea as intensely patriotic, when the others do it, it is infringement.

    I think anyone who goes through the actual tender document cannot miss the first para of the technical section which starts with

    “Solution Scope : Lawful Interception Collection, Monitoring and Analysis
    solution for GSM, CDMA, PSTN, ISDN and 3G networks”

    So what is new? Communication networks all over the world are open to governmental and other spying, lawfully.

    Eric Schmidt, the Google CEO was only delivering the hard truth when he said this in 2009 thereabouts -> “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

    He was also being judgmental, but harping on that misses his point that his organisation was still liable to the rules of his government.

    You know what, even now, knowing the right people will give you the ability to track anyone who is on a given network.

    On one hand we cry about a failure of intelligence, and on the other hand we try to thwart the very weapon that can deliver us that intelligence.

    Yes, we know it can be misused, but then all technology can be.

    The US has for years had the system to intercept and auto analyse all calls passing through its networks looking for keywords like atomic and what not. The ability to listen in provides a powerful deterrent to powers that aim to wreck the power of a growing India.

    It is also true that governments can, through its control of the media, coerce and silence its main opposition, but as the DMK found to its chagrin in the last elections, it is precisely the TV’s that gave away that contributed to its downfall.

    The proliferation of media is itself a great source of disorder and when such disorder persists, and in a country like India, then efforts to gain some resemblance of control will pop in.

    The effort by the ministry is something that is long overdue, at least with respect to the forces that seek to destabilize India. As to it being misused is a factor about which one needs to keep his fingers crossed.

    Though I sympathies with Rajesh that his SMS business plans are going astray, many people would be happy that the days of being interrupted forever with Spam SMS’s are over.

    In an increasingly busy world, one’s attentions span is at a premium and should be treated as such.

    To see mysteries where none exist is being like the kid who fears to look out into the dark, for he imagines nameless monsters lurking there.

    And to conflate it with innocuous policy measures is pure madness.

    Get real!

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