Freedom Fast: Third day of hunger strike for internet freedom
Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice completed the third day of their hunger strike to support annulment motion against IT Rules-2011 in Rajya Sabha. We started this hunger strike on 2nd May and we will carry on until we get any satisfactory response from the government and the opposition regarding the annulment of IT Rules-2011.
Government has enacted laws that give it a free pass to censor our Facebook posts, listen to every Skype conversation we have, monitor our tweets or blogs oraccess private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones or surveil all of your online activity. We want to tell our government that they cannot use vaguely defined laws and loopholes to take away our freedom of speech and expression.
IT Acts are unconstitutional: On 11th April 2011, the Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will:
- Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;
- Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;
- Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;
- Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers).
In addition, mandatory data retention would force the Internet Service Provider to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about an individual. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.
Annulment Motion in Rajya Sabha: Sh. P. Rajeev, Hon’ble Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an annulment motion to get these rules abolished and the motion has been admitted and is expected to come up in this budget session. The Bangalore MP Rajeev Chandrashekar has spoken in Parliament in support. It’s also interesting to note that a professor of chemistry of the Jadavpur University was arrested recently along with his neighbour for allegedly posting a cartoon on a popular social networking site and forwarding emails, cases were booked under the IT ACT as well.
Save Your Voice Team,