At last Google came openly against the governmental requests regarding removal of offending sites as well as for relevant data of its users. What was behind curtains has now come into public domain though the complete picture is still missing. The results, though crude and raw, are alarming and needs to be taken seriously. After all, illegal or unreasonable internet censorship violates the human rights of netizens.
As far as India is concerned, currently it occupies third position for “removal request” and fourth spot for “data requests”. If we combine this data with the growing e-surveillance activities of India, the conclusion is very scary. In such situation you have neither privacy nor a guarantee that if you talk against government or governmental authorities, you would be free and safe. All constitutional safeguards are just words written on a book in these circumstances.
Some civil liberty protection initiatives have already been undertaken in India to counter the growing menaces of Internet censorship and e-surveillance. These initiatives were undertaken in the backdrop of increasing governmental interference with civil liberties of Indians without adequate safeguards. For instance, the national intelligence grid (NATGRID) project was pushed very hard by the home ministry of India without any checks and balances in place. Objections were raised against the same by many experts in India and as a result the NATGRID project has now been stalled. Similarly, the unique identification project of India (UID project of India) is once again pushed without any legislative framework and privacy safeguards.
It seems Indian government has been acting under pressures of industrial lobbying and vested interests. It is acting with gross disregard to the constitution of India and various statutory requirements. For instance, how can an authority like unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) operate without any legal framework? How can it spend crores of hard earned public money without parliamentary sanction? But government is not willing to listen to anything and perhaps the fate of UID would also be same as that of NATGRID.
It is high time for the citizens and netizens of India to raise their voices against the growing instance of Internet censorship and e-surveillance in India.