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.