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India Sleepwalks Into a Surveillance Society 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tech-support-calls-may-be-monitored dept.
An anonymous reader writes "ZeroPaid has a fascinating roundup of news stories surrounding the latest surveillance laws passed in India, including a first-hand account of someone writing from inside India. The legislation in question is the Information Technology Act's amendment bill 2006, which was recently passed in the Indian parliament. Things you can't do with the new legislation include surfing for news in Bollywood and looking up porn on the internet. The legislation also allows all transmissions over the internet to be monitored for any form of lawbreaking and permits a sub-inspector to break into your house to make sure you aren't browsing porn on your computer."
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India Sleepwalks Into a Surveillance Society

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:16AM (#26309699)

    The internet is really really great...

  • Shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:22AM (#26309715)

    A government wanting to decrease people's access to information, bit by bit. What a surprising turn of events.
    Seems that a good government ass-kicking is may be in order. Course, that seems to be the case in several places.

    • Re:Shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:57AM (#26310107)

      How is this mod'd insightful/interesting? What's interesting is that many 'governments' are made up of people - like you and me. What's interesting is that as soon as you and me take on this civic duty, we somehow morph into some sub-lifeform who are automatically declared corrupt and tossed into the gutter by every half-wit with an internet connection.

      Same with police officers etc. Hint: they may actually live and have a family right in your neighborhood -- they're not bred in some mill by the 'government' and 'grown' specifically to prevent you from doing whatever you feel like.

      The statement above is no better than a hardcoded MOTD -- it does nothing constructive to address the matter at hand.

      • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Informative)

        by wisty (1335733) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @06:07AM (#26310395)

        Have you read about the Stanford Prison Experiment? Normal people like you and me can do atrocious things, if we feel justified. Police take a lot of training and talent to *not* act like thugs. Government officials don't have this sort of training.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Police take a lot of training and talent to *not* act like thugs.

          Really? Adding 'Sir' to the end of threats of violence doesn't make them less unpleasant.

          They always remind me of the dim school bullies who use threats of violence because they really don't have anything else.

        • Re:Shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dripdry (1062282) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @08:15PM (#26315405) Journal

          I'm sorry, but I have to speak up here.

          I have 3 friends who have all gotten starting jobs as police offices in different districts in the last 4 years.
          2 of them quit after a few months when it became obvious that the acts they were asked to commit were not even close to being in line with serving the public interest and safety. The third person is seriously questioning his career choice.

          I say that without proper oversight and regardless of training, people with too much power often do despicable, selfish things because they can a) Get away with it and b) the justification for these acts comes from having that power in the first place.

          just my 2 cents

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916)

        That's because most people who get into a position of power got plenty of courting from the big lobby groups before getting the job.

        Besides, some philosophies automatically declare any human as corrupt and it's no surprise that this becomes more of a problem as the human's power increases.

      • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

        by knutkracker (1089397) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @12:30PM (#26312055)

        What's interesting is that many 'governments' are made up of people - like you and me

        Er... no.

        'You and me' are not currently in political office or trying to be. This is for a reason, i.e. we don't care enough about getting power to make a serious attempt. Those who do, are by definition different to the rest of us.

        This gets interesting when you realise that there is a stable prevalence of about 1% [wikipedia.org] for clinical psychopaths in any population and that being able to not give a shit about [torture/mass unemployment/civillian casualties/back stabbing your colleagues/puppies dying] (delete as applicable) is pretty much a job requirement for many political figures. Put simply, you will likely find a larger proportion of psychopathic individuals as you move higher up any command heirarchy. This why surveillance society is a bad idea - the people in charge are less likely to have a moral conscience than the rest of us.

        See this film [wikipedia.org] if you need further information/spine chills.

      • by speedtux (1307149) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @12:51PM (#26312193)

        People "like you and me" don't run governments, so we don't morph into anything. The reason governments and bureaucracies are so bad is because they attract power hungry people who don't know their own limitations. I mean, would you be callous or stupid enough to order the Iraq war? How can someone like Palin possibly think she is capable of running the country?

        It's the same with police. Who do you think joins the police force? What kind of person do you think wants to deal day-in and day-out with drunks, drug addicts, and violence? What kind of person do you think wants to carry a gun, knowing that they may have to use it occasionally? It's either people who are very naive, or people who enjoy violence, or people who simply don't have a choice.

        No, sorry, police and government are not made up of "people like you and me".

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by edmicman (830206)
          People that want to help the common good and their fellow man? Lay off the cynicism buddy...
  • by Caboosian (1096069) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:24AM (#26309725)
    If they took all the porn off the internet, there would be only one website left: www.bringbacktheporn.com
  • by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:33AM (#26309759)
    Make the idiot masses panic with a spectacular, loud, but in all honestly tiny (a few psychopaths with boats and guns) action. Foolish laws are drawn up despite everyone "knowing" where they go. If there's any sign that the society is not going there, repeat to set it back on course to its own destruction if possible.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      Worse yet, it is a re-assertion of religion over state. Do any terrorists not justify their acts in some way through religion?
      • by the_womble (580291) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @06:46AM (#26310503) Homepage Journal

        Most terrorists outside the Middle East are doing it for purely secular (usually wanting a seperate state or something simlilar) causes. Examples:

        Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: the masters of suicide bombing. Want a separate state with a secular consitution.
        IRA, INLA, UDF, UVF etc. Loosely affiliated with religious groups because the ethnic groups they represented followed different religions, but no religious content to their nationalist ideology.
        Basque separatists: want a separate state.
        FARC: Marxist Leninist
        Abu Nidal Organization: Secular Palestinian
        Shining Path: Maoist
        Various spin offs of the Revolutionary Organization 17 November (Greek communists)
        Various separatist groups in India: some may have a religious motive, most are nationalists.

        Defenders of many of the above may say that they are not really terrorists (e.g. because their main activity is fighting against armed forces). however all have made some use of undoubted terrorist tactics (i.e. bombs targeted against civilians without the sanction of a state party)

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @08:26AM (#26310903)

          You forgot one:

          CIA: Feudal Corporatocracy

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by radtea (464814)

          Most terrorists outside the Middle East are doing it for purely secular (usually wanting a seperate state or something simlilar) causes.

          No, false, wrong.

          No terrorist anywhere cares one whit about achieving any end except to blow things up and kill people. Anyone who argues otherwise must have failed to notice something: that terrorism routinely and completely fails to achieve the stated aims of the people who commit it.

          The British are still in Ireland. The Jews still in Palestine. Every one of the group

          • by zenyu (248067) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:22AM (#26311681)

            Wake up, people! Terrorism is committed and supported by people for whom KILLING PEOPLE IS A DEEPLY SATISFYING ACT, and nothing more.

            I think you need to visit some conflict zones and talk to people on both sides. And you need to read a little history. While there may be a larger than average representation of sociopaths in terrorist groups, they are far from the majority within any cohesive, and hence long lasting, terrorist group. Also, no terrorist group can survive long without a support base. Throughout history these have melted away as soon as fairly basic human needs are met. Do you really think George Washington could have operated very long without the 30% of the colonists supporting him in his fight against the government and the rule of law?

            I'm not saying the hatred goes away as soon as basic needs are met, just talking to some average Turks and Kurds will quickly convince you of that, but in a generation or two it does. How much do we still hate German Americans, or Irish Americans, or Italian Americans? I think you would have a hard time finding anyone under thirty who has any sort of deep seated hatred in America for those groups. Yet many people were bombing, rioting and subverting the US government because of their hatred for these new groups; and this was within my grandparent's lifetime. Most importantly the hatred does not HAVE to go away for there to be peace, the overwhelming majority of people just want to live ordinary boring lives, once they have seen the horrors of war they will fight to keep the peace if the peace allows them to live ordinary boring lives.

            BTW I also disagree with the previous poster that most terrorist wars are purely secular. The underlying reasons for the conflicts come down to the same basic human needs, but almost every war is supported by the local deities. The only exceptions I can think of are the American Anarchists and the Russian Communists. I'm sure there are more, but if only because most people believe in some imaginary being, most wars are supported by one or more of them.

            • by radtea (464814)

              While there may be a larger than average representation of sociopaths in terrorist groups, they are far from the majority within any cohesive, and hence long lasting, terrorist group.

              Wherever did I say that the number of sociopaths in terrorist groups and their supporters is small? For that matter, wherever did I say that people who find killing others a deeply satisfying act are sociopaths? If you think that, you really should do the research that you've recommended I do: go experience real conflict, an

          • by jackbird (721605) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @11:23AM (#26311687)
            I would argue that terrorism in Israel/Palestine, through the overreactions it intentionally provokes from the other side, has been extremely effective at effecting an almost 180 degree shift in public perceptions of Israel in Europe and the USA. "The Jews still being there" is not a rational yardstick for Palestinian success or failure unless you think genocide is an acceptable political goal - there are millions of Jews in Israel, and most of them, most of their parents, and a lot of their grandparents were born there. And don't tell me that Hamas, and the PLO before them, ruling Gaza and part of the West Bank; and Hezbollah the de facto government of large parts of Lebanon, isn't a measure of success by most yardsticks.

            The sad reality is that terrorist/guerrilla tactics are the only way to fight an opponent with a technologically modern army if you don't have one yourself - bleed the enemy and your own civilians until civilians in the enemy country and the rest of the world make it politically impossible for the enemy to continue on their course.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by speedtux (1307149)

              "I would argue that terrorism in Israel/Palestine,"

              You're treating the situation as if it were symmetric, but it is not. Israel doesn't commit terrorism against the Palestinians. That may sound better, but it's actually worse: the Israeli army implements the will of Israeli citizens, so every citizen is responsible for their acts. In contrast, Palestinians are not responsible for the acts of Palestinian terrorists, since they have no control over them.

              "there are millions of Jews in Israel, and most of th

          • by Narishma (822073)
            Isn't terrorism just semantics? Those who achieve their goal are no longer called terrorists, only those who fail. You could argue that most countries have been founded by some groups that we would call terrorists nowadays.
            • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @01:31PM (#26312433)
              Look at a map of Israel as created by treaty, in comparison to the areas occupied by Palestinians. Then look at a similar map of the current areas.

              Who are terrorists? Who are not? The issue really is debatable.

              Palestine needs its own established state borders, if only to prevent further encroachment by Israel. (Note: this would also benefit Israel, by eliminating disputes over territory.)
          • by dryeo (100693)

            The local terrorists around here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedomites [wikipedia.org] , used nudity, arson (often there own possessions), and bombs. Being pacifists they just about never targeted human life (exception being a leader who was blown up).
            It's amazing how a bunch of old Russian peasants burning their possessions in the nude could terrorize the average 1950's Canadian.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Omestes (471991)

            Hm...

            You are correct, suicide bombers obviously don't have any desire but to cause destruction.

            Actually no. Why would that be the motivation if they could not see it? They must be killing themselves for something they perceive to be bigger than themselves. I doubt that this is just the whim to.. er.. not see destruction.

            Why do you attribute different internal motivation to others and not yourself? When we invade countries because we don't like how they look at us (assuming your an American), do we do it

        • Your classification doesn't make sense. By your reasoning, the Middle Eastern terrorists aren't terrorists for religious reasons either: all they want is for the US to get out of the Middle East and for the nations of the Middle East to be unified again.

    • "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed - and thus clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless stream of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken
  • Morality police (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ardor (673957) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:49AM (#26309829)

    I can already see Indian sub-inspectors extorting people with records of porn they watched. Seriously, a morality police is among the worst things imaginable, it is like the crown of this totalitarian bill.

    • Re:Morality police (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mellon (7048) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:05AM (#26309877) Homepage

      Actually, the evidence would suggest that the reason for the Mumbai attacks was not to establish a pretext for creating a panopticon state. Rather, it was a strategic move on the part of the Taliban in Pakistan to get Pakistani troops moved to the border with India and away from the Afghanistan border, so that the Taliban could act with impunity there. And that is precisely what has happened.

      Next phase? Get rid of all the non-madrassa schools. Those are the ones that allow girls to attend. Then the entire region becomes a recruiting zone for more suicidal terrorists.

      Meanwhile, back in India, this sounds like a typical piece of crap from the legislature, which often overreacts when bad things happen and writes legislation like this. Then there's a big public cry of outrage, and the legislation is withdrawn.

      Anyway, India is the last place for a panopticon. Do you have any idea how many people there are there? It's simply not feasible.

      • ...and how many religions, traditions, ethnic groups/tribes/castes there are?

        India is the farthest away from monolithic that you can get.

      • Anyway, India is the last place for a panopticon. Do you have any idea how many people there are there? It's simply not feasible.

        From conversations some Indian nationals at work, school, and a few in-laws, there's a much greater diversity of infrastructure than most other countries in the world. Though the larger cities might be near the US in terms of infrastructure, in many of the rural areas, have reliable electrical power is more of a concern than having internet access, much less it being monitore

    • by freedom_india (780002) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:31AM (#26309979) Homepage Journal

      Reality is much different here:
      Like the stupid ideas of the British Parliamentarians who propose outlandish laws, these are also the same kind of crap.
      The constitution contains a STRONG reference to freedom of speech and expression: Porn being one of them. So the upper house will either return it back or hold it.
      Secondly, the police have lots of other things to do than look at each image and text as porn or not. The ratio is close to 1:1,6333 cops:people. Hence rest assured, this is one law that will not cross the door.
      Thirdly, The Supreme Court is a HUGE people-friendly institution here that does not shy away from arresting and imprisoning even the biggest politician here. Hell, they get a kick out of doing it just for fun. This law will be challenged by an NGO and surely be banned outright, or struck down.
      Lastly, the ruling party is a middle-path: Neither the right-wing BJP nor the extreme left-wing communists. Their priorities right now are the economy and Pakistan, so this law will be forgotten instantly even if passed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Especially since there is no relation between sex and morality. It's just so common to use that lie that the churches use to make their believers sinners forever, that everybody thinks there is.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rohan972 (880586)

        Especially since there is no relation between sex and morality.

        All actions can have moral implications including sex. Sex can be done immorally, people just differ on where the moral line is drawn. Molestation, rape, consensual sex where one party knowingly infects the other with STD's.

        It's just so common to use that lie that the churches use to make their believers sinners forever, that everybody thinks there is.

        I've never heard of any church preaches sex is inherently sinful, just that it should be within marriage and excluding gays. While you obviously disagree with that position it would be appropriate for someone condemning the lies of others to be a bit more diligent with the truth themselv

        • I've never heard of any church preaches sex is inherently sinful, just that it should be within marriage [...]

          Sex is not just "doing your job", by making the missionary's position (or how is it called in English) once a month.
          Sex is letting go. Doing whatever you crave for. With sex you get dirty without being dirty!

          So every healthy human gets to be a sinner sooner or later. Every person is, as soon as he/she masturbates, which is a must for a healthy person. And there are tons of other things that are "sinful" for no real reason, other that to make you a sinner.

      • And I would have hoped that the Indians would have understood this, considering that they built a temple with statues of Sex on the Walls [wikipedia.org]
        The ancient Indians atleast seemed to believe that sex was a regular part of life, and to be seen as an art!
        Victorian England and the Mugals seem to have left an indelible mark on Indian culture, unfortunately.
  • [removed] (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @03:54AM (#26309847)

    This post has been deleted by the `Surveillance Task Force Under-ops'. (STFU.)

  • Meh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nitsnipe (1332543)
    If there's one thing that you really can't control today is the flow of information.
    Constructing an Orwellian society is impossible because geeks are always going to be many steps ahead.
    Sadly though, the mentallity of many governments is still stuck in the past and most politicians have no clue what PGP is.
    • Re:Meh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden (803437) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:09AM (#26309889)

      I don't know. Depending on how strict the regime gets, I can easily see things being so risky that people simply don't want to mess with the geek-created tools, even if they exist.

      If I'm risking an RIAA lawsuit for breaking some DRM, then who the eff cares. I'll take my chances. If the government is going to break down my door, drag me out and execute me if they catch me looking at porn, then I think I'd be inclined to just not download the stuff anymore, tempting as it might be.

      You can't always rely on technical subversions to get you through this type of stuff. Fight it when it starts, when we still have a chance to beat it (and while fighting any government legislation is still legal).

    • by Jurily (900488)

      If there's one thing that you really can't control today is the flow of information.
      Constructing an Orwellian society is impossible because geeks are always going to be many steps ahead.

      Cut the backbones, jam the satellites, and welcome to Airstrip One.

  • by desinc (788828) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:19AM (#26309917) Homepage

    FTFA:
    "Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device, â" (a) any content that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or (b) any content which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will... shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and with fine."

    >> This provision seems to be a way to enforce acts online which would otherwise be quite serious in person. You can't threaten to kill someone IRL, so don't do it on the internet either...

    "Whoever publishes/ transmits/ causes to be published/ transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either prescription for a term which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.

    If the material is sexually explicit act or conduct then the punishment on first conviction is imprisonment which may extend to five years and a fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees. In the event of second or subsequent conviction imprisonment may extend to seven years and fine to ten lakh rupees."

    >> Correct me if I'm wrong, but this one looks like it prevents people from UPLOADING porn, not from looking at it. I am not aware of the current state of censorship laws in India (I'm sure some slashdotter out there does know), but I would assume that this is in place because publishing physical copies of porn is already illegal in India. I am totally just guessing here.

    ZeroPaid has always gotten a boner about sensationalist material though. I'd be quite surprised if this wasn't completely misinterpreted...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Calydor (739835)
      "causes to be transmitted" is a nice blanket term a lawyer can use to argue that by sending the GET request to the server, you've broken the law.
      • by dodobh (65811)

        Nah. The previous law on porn restricted selling/giving away. This is just an extension of the same law to the Internet. This extension was required to get people who indulged in making porn movies locally, but sold them via a US based company to avoid prosecution.

  • Seriously, loads of Indian laws are notoriously unenforceable. Besides, IIRC, viewing pornography isn't illegal, it's distributing it that is illegal.

    Anyway, it's interesting how little the average Indian knows about surveillance, and even more interesting how little he cares. Take me, for instance, until Research In Motion said that they couldn't allow the Indian Government to read email and stuff from Blackberries, I did not know that the Government could do that with my messages or phone calls.

    Even o
  • It's time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nightfire-unique (253895) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:21AM (#26309923)

    When are we, as humans, going to learn that we don't have to cater to the whiny religious/moral nutcases out there?

    Politicians: GROW A SPINE. When a whiny anti-sex/anti-drugs/anti-rock-and-roll nutcase writes you, complaining that their sensibilities are affected by the private actions of others, tell them to get bent.

    Please, please, please. For the good of society and the world. Tell those miserable people that they can stick their pathetic little psychosis where the sun doesn't shine.

    We rely on you. You are our leaders. Please act like it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      You do realize you are not the only person in the world, right? Maybe you are pro-sex, pro-drugs, pro-rock-and-roll, but well, let me explain to you how democracy works. Politicians follow the votes (this can be disregarded in cases where people don't care, in which case the politicians are free to do whatever they want.....that's where lobbyists get a lot of their power). If enough people want something, then the politician HAS to vote in favor of it, otherwise he will be voted out of office, and someon
      • Re:It's time (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FilterMapReduce (1296509) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @06:42AM (#26310489)

        If enough people want something, then the politician HAS to vote in favor of it, otherwise he will be voted out of office, and someone else will replace him.

        I think the GP's point was that politicians tend to act based not on whether "enough" people want it, but on what a particular small group of people wants. The silent majority may be more permissive about the sex-and-drugs-on-the-Internet issue than you think. I don't know either; it's hard to find a real dialogue on these "objectionable speech" issues in this society.

        this is what happened recently in California on proposition 8, where the majority of voters decided that gay marriage is not something they wanted (for the record, in case you care, I voted against prop 8, although I really don't care much either way). So gay marriage is illegal. Sucks if you're gay and want to get married, but well, you have an option, you can convince enough other people that gay marriage is a good idea and put it up for vote again.

        Your example may be undermined by the underlying issues around voters being able to override constitutional principles by passing amendments with only a simple majority. (That is: The supreme court is supposed to be able to make decisions like "equal protection implies that gay marriage is legal" and have it stick even if it's unpopular. A majority vote by the people is not the last word in a constitutional republic; it's subject to checks and balances like everything else. That a 52% majority had the power to circumvent that by amending the constitution is troubling.)

        Once again, this is what happened in California when lots of people in favor of proposition 8 cared enough about it to go call their neighbors and reason with them why it was a good idea. The opponents of prop 8 didn't have the same ambition, which is why at the end of the day they lost.

        That's not true. The campaign for Prop 8 didn't owe its success to grassroots support; most of that work was paid for by out-of-state religious interest groups with deep pockets (who cared very strongly, for reasons I can't fathom, whether people neither from their church nor from their state could get married). The campaign against Prop 8 was quite ambitious, with many impassioned supporters whose lives were changed by its passing, which unfortunately wasn't enough.

      • by vistic (556838)

        Wow... and here I thought governments had a responsibility to do stuff like protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority... protect fundamental civil rights... stuff like that.

        What do you think about banning anti-miscegenation laws? (Since you brought up marriage as an example.) The Supreme Court ruled on it in Loving v. Virginia. At the time, the percentage of people opposed to inter-racial marriage was higher than the percentage of people now who oppose same-sex marriage.

        I guess none of us are sa

      • by jabithew (1340853)

        let me explain to you how democracy works.

        That may be how democracy works. It's also why Western nations tend not to be pure democracies; one has to avoid the tyranny of the majority.

      • by speedtux (1307149)

        but well, let me explain to you how democracy works. Politicians follow the votes (this can be disregarded in cases where people don't care, in which case the politicians are free to do whatever they want.....that's where lobbyists get a lot of their power). If enough people want something, then the politician HAS to vote in favor of it,

        If that were the way democracy worked, every democracy would turn into a fascist dictatorship within a few years. Fortunately, that's not how it works.

        First, a senate or up

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "When are we, as humans, going to learn that we don't have to cater to the whiny religious/moral nutcases out there?"

      When there is enough backlash against the superstitionists to take them out of power, and that takes a lot. The most hopeful chance was Communism, because Communists are willing to kill religious people and destroy their institutions by force. The rest of Communism was awful, but they had the guts to fight superstition woith bullets. Religious people won't yield because their belief doesn't a

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:21AM (#26309929)

    India, despite honouring itself as the largest democracy in the world, is - on the ground, at least - an exemplar of the class system.

    Your higher classes are the rich families who go to boarding schools then usually foreign universities. The "better" ones may train as doctors, lawyers, etc., but many dabble in politics, where they take advantage of the pretty much universal corruption (especially in poorer areas) and ease with which one can lie to a mostly uneducated set of voters. I have a few family friends in this class.. some have minor royal titles (good enough to get HM The Queen to visit their wedidngs etc.). For them, money by Indian standards is no object, and while they may be socially restricted by tradition - childhood arranged marriage, for example - there's nothing that can't be wrangled out of with $ appropriately channeled to make it look like everyone's still behaving. The unwanted wife becomes a minor tax to pay and ignore.

    What's more interesting, however, is the gap between the small middle class and the often illiterate, uneducated, unhealthy, dirt-poor, often racially inferior (by Indian standards) remainder. If you were you, in India, as a regular middle class Joe, you would have servants. I can't emphasise the extent to which a man's attitude to his fellow man changes when he keeps a gaggle of servants:

    (1) It is not customary to treat your servants as equals in your employ, but as entities who must look up to you and talk to you with deference. From the moment you become aware of your household as a child you are taught to see these humans who are in some way less human than you. Once you can do that with one subgroup of humans, you can do it for any.

    (2) These aren't well paid, well-educated guys with a calling to household service. These are people who need a job and whose fallback on hard times is a dusty street. It is easy to bully a man who cannot talk back.

    In the USA and Western Europe, the significant quibble is - contrary to the perception of the average (Slashdotting) progressive political activist, whose opinions align with only a minority - between working and middle classes. As the blue collar moves up to white, or unionises, he increases costs and competition for the existing white. But in India, there is such a deep, desperate blue collar pool that the whites are under no threat.

    In India, the primary concern is - as in any feudal state - that of the higher classes for the power of the middle. Laws must be written for arbitrary application to any undesirables in this class, while preserving that squeaky clean image for the ignorant voting proletariat that keeps them on your side.

    This is merely one such law.

  • by iammani (1392285) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:22AM (#26309931)

    I live in India and I can assure you that, there are no think of the children or think of the terrorists laws in India (Except POTA for terrorism, which was repealed two years ago, and a bill which is under discussion right now).

    From a glance at the bill, I believe they wanted to cover all immoral acts and also leave the interpretation wide open. This is partly because of incompetence and stupidity of the person who wrote the law and partly because the law will be passed without a discussion in the Lok Sabha (one of the two parliamentary chambers), where I am sure not a single person would even have a vague idea of what the bill is, and subsequently though the Rajya Sabha(thought it does have few bright and technically sound people)

    As Heinlein's Razor" said, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

    That said, in India, it is always how the laws are enforced that matters; there are a number of laws, which even lawyers, judges, police do not follow.

    And I do hope these change soon.

    • Lok Sabha (one of the two parliamentary chambers), where I am sure not a single person would even have a vague idea of what the bill is,

      India is just like everywhere else!

    • by EdIII (1114411) *

      That said, in India, it is always how the laws are enforced that matters; there are a number of laws, which even lawyers, judges, police do not follow.

      Ohh, I can predict a sharp drop in enforcement soon after they start to try. Very high turn over rates for sub-inspectors. Bashing into Indian mens homes fifteen minutes after they get home from work is not a good idea. In ANY country that has Internet.

      The Chief Inspector, "Sub-inspector I have your resignation here. What is wrong. Why do you feel you ne

  • 'Nuff sed.
  • First they came... (Score:3, Informative)

    by aceofspades1217 (1267996) <aceofspades1217@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:30AM (#26309977) Homepage Journal

    When first they came for the criminals I did not speak

          Then they began to take the Jews

          When they fetched the people who were members of trade unions

          I did not speak

          When they took the Bible students, rounded up the homosexuals

          Then they gathered up the immigrants and the gypsies

          I did not speak, I did not speak

          Eventually they came for me and there was no one left to speak

    Hmm, seems vaguely familiar.

  • Apu's quick guide to cyber-anonymity:

    Buy laptop with cash.
    Buy a tiny 4gb+ usb thumbdrive with it.
    Wipe hard-drive using any linux live-cd.
    Make 2 or more partitions on the hard drive.
    On the last partition setup Windows XP so that authorities have something to work with if they check your computer.
    Setup your preferred linux distro on the first partition.
    If option is offered encrypt your home directory.
    If not use truecrypt and encrypt your entire linux partition. Leave Windows XP naked.

    Setu
  • by davmoo (63521) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:45AM (#26310049)

    Damn...Obama hasn't even been sworn in yet and George W. Bush already has a job writing new laws in India...

  • It always been (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Boolda (815642) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:52AM (#26310077)
    This reminds me of an incident where a TV show was taken off air because the show parodied Gandhi. It's sad that people of India have to depend on the abysmal incompetency of law-enforcing bodies to keep their privacy and freedom of speech alive.
  • Not really. Guys, this is India, the country in which "sodomy" is still illegal and punished by several years in jail.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Saturday January 03, 2009 @05:37AM (#26310281) Journal

    Things you can't do with the new legislation include...looking up porn on the internet.

    What moral standard are they claiming compels them to make this restriction?
    I don't get the impression that Hinduism is very strict regarding one's sexual conduct.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by iammani (1392285) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @05:58AM (#26310361)

      I don't get the impression that Hinduism is very strict regarding one's sexual conduct.

      Actually it is not Hinduism that restricts it. I have seen many hindu temple with erotic statues. It was the British, who considered these objectionable and made it taboo during their century old rule. This opinion unfortunately still continues.

  • by cyberjessy (444290) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @05:58AM (#26310359) Homepage

    Here is a copy of The Bill [prsindia.org].

    I just read through it, it makes several strong references to child pornography, couldn't find anything on "regular" porn though.

    But anyway, this worldwide erosion of rights and freedom impacts the rich and poor countries alike. Except that in a country like India, you would have fewer voices speaking out because of other issues which are more important (like Hunger for instance). Such laws become tools for any state to silence dissidents.

    You could silence critics by jailing them for looking at Porn. wow.

  • This really pushes back the date of my visit to India from never, to never +1!

    Seriously folks, this is India you are talking about. It's easier to have a list of things you can do in India. I'm not trolling, I really feel this way.

  • In India everything is run by bribes. They won't invade your house or monitor your internet usage. It's just another way to add someone to the list of people you have to pay off to avoid being hassled.
  • Countercurrents???? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The website quoted here, countercurrents.org, is a far-left extremely anti-India hate site full of racist conspiracy theories and assorted bullshit

    Some examples:

    1.Recent Mumbai attacks were a "Hindu-Jewish false flag operation" (Pakistani media propaganda)
    http://www.countercurrents.org/misra031208.htm [countercurrents.org]

    2. The holocaust never happened and 9/11 was "an Israeli onspiracy" - by American neo-Nazi Wendy Campbell

    http://www.countercurrents.org/campbell060108.htm [countercurrents.org]
    http://www.countercurrents.org/campbell240108.htm [countercurrents.org]
    http:// [wikipedia.org]

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