Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Centre For Protection Of Human Rights In Cyberspace Launched In India

The Natgrid Project of India has been stalled due to lack of safeguards as prescribed by techno-legal experts like Praveen Dalal. This has also shown that India has no legal framework for protection of civil liberties in cyberspace. Fortunately, Perry4Law has launched the first and exclusive Techno-Legal Human Rights Protection Centre in India. The basic purpose of this initiative is to strengthen the human rights protection in cyberspace that is increasingly violated by governments and private individuals alike. Further, the resource also intends to provide good and effective legal framework for protection of civil liberties in cyberspace.

Human Rights Protection in Cyberspace is a tricky issue. On the one hand we have to respect the civil liberties like right to privacy, right to speech and expression, right against Internet censorship, etc whereas on the other hand we have to comply with the State’s right to regulate its citizens and territories. Here comes the real problem as Internet or cyberspace is boundary less.

The problem is not unique to India alone but is a universal problem. Whether it is the “anonymity controversy” regarding Google or recent controversy regarding “censorship” by China or the blocking of the website of zone-h.org in India or any other similar incidence, governments all over the world are unable to cope up with the present information and communication technology (ICT) systems. As a result they are superimposing the traditional concepts to cyberspace resulting in absurd results, says Praveen Dalal, leading techno-legal expert of India.

There is an emergent need to formulate good techno-legal regulation regarding human right protection in cyberspace. We cannot blindly apply the traditional concepts to cyberspace and we need a separate and dedicate branch of techno-legal laws and regulation in this regard. In the Indian context one such initiative has already been undertaken by Perry4Law.

The initiative intends to provide a techno-legal framework to the stakeholders and governments. In the Indian context, it would cover those areas that have a tendency to violate human rights in real life as well as cyberspace. Some of the areas include Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) Project (CCTNS Project), National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India, E-Surveillance under the Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000) and other laws, etc.

The “suggestions” of Praveen Dalal regarding privacy protection and prevention of potential misuse of information for political ends gathered through NATGRID have already been accepted by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of India. In the end, the CCS withheld its nod and asked the Home Ministry to come back after further consultation with all stakeholders.

Let us hope that the proposed initiative on protection of civil liberties in cyberspace would prove useful to all concerned.