Monday, August 30, 2010

India Must Deal With Digital Issues Sensibly

The blackberry dilemma has shown that India does not understand and apply technology properly. Instead of properly understanding the technology, the Indian government is making absurd decisions of banning the same.

This show that the ill informed politicians and bureaucrats of India can be easily misguided about technology as there is no one to understand the same. In such a situation the only option these politicians and bureaucrats exercise is to ban the technology and justifying the thumb rule that if we do not understand the technology, we ban it.

Naturally, the privacy rights in India and other civil liberties are at great peril. In fact, they are already dead as there is no law or safeguards subject to which the unreasonable, illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance powers in India are exercised. This also means that if rights are outlawed, only outlaws would have rights in India.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing partner of Perrry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India, India has tackled the digital issues with great immaturity and lack of knowledge. The dictates to Blackberry, Skype, Gmail, etc are nothing but sheer lack of understanding about technology. Encryption and cyber security cannot be controlled and compromised in the manner Indian government is trying to do, says Dalal. It would be a good idea if the Indian government stops this immaturity as soon as possible, suggests Dalal.

In fact, as a result of unlimited and unregulated e-surveillance powers, Internet censorship powers and website blocking powers in the hands of Indian government, the things have already been very complicated. This is the main reason why initiatives like human rights protection in cyberspace (HRPIC) were launched by Praveen Dalal.

Indian government must clear its head regarding digital issues and get itself acquainted with information technology. Merely blocking Blackberry’s services or Gmail would not kill the strong encryption technology already in the hands of users, informs Dalal. It would only change the mode of encryption from Blackberry/Gmail to some other software or platform, claims Dalal.

Ultimately, how much civil liberties Indians would have depend upon how much they are willing to fight for the same.