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India Lurches Toward Internet Censorship 86

Posted by timothy
from the history-of-the-world dept.
First time accepted submitter ixarux writes "India is at a crucial crossroad at the moment. Internet censorship laws are getting stricter as it begins to ban file-sharing and video-sharing websites. It started with Indian courts allowing censorship of Google, Facebook, etc. It has now gone one step ahead and decided to ask ISPs to block file-sharing sites. It is the movie industry which is again at the forefront of this. Anonymous retaliated, and targeted the websites of various Indian government websites in protest. What India lacks at this crucial juncture are debates in the public domain about this and citizens actually organizing protests as seen in the West."
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India Lurches Toward Internet Censorship

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  • Re:India (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:08PM (#40048045) Homepage

    Well, this is a case of trying to block "see how much better the rest of the world looks" after all, if your neighbors next door in S.Korea and Japan have indoor running water and toilets that wash your backside, you might just have riots when the people figure out that the government has been spending money on who knows what instead of infrastructure.

  • by sanman2 (928866) on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:23PM (#40048145)

    It's the ruling Indian Congress Party which is supporting moves to crack down on the internet, because they view the internet as a threat to their continued rule. The Indian Congress Party likes to outwardly market itself to the world as democratic, but inwardly they really want a One Party State, with a mere token opposition as a figleaf.

    The ruling party has been making a lot of predatory moves since it took office - like trying to get its own men onto the Election Commission, which under the constitution is supposed to be an independent oversight body for elections. They've also brought in dubious new inventions like Electronic Voting Machines, which they claim will allow elections to be conducted more efficiently, but which could dangerously be used to rig votes, since they could easily be tampered with while offering no paper trail.

    The Congress Party has increasingly been using the courts to harass members of political opposition parties, even while blocking any criminal investigation into their own party members. They are also engaging in rampant wiretapping and eavesdropping on opposition party members. The ruling party also wants to create new security agencies which are directly under the control of the central govt where the party currently holds power, while diminishing the rights of the states.

    They are doing all these things because they want to keep themselves in power in perpetuity. Oh, and this is the same party that invokes Mahatma Gandhi's name at every opportunity, since they figure that by doing so, it gives them unlimited carte blanche to do whatever they want. They're just trying to keep India safely in the arms of Gandhi, you see. :p

  • Re:India (Score:4, Interesting)

    by perryizgr8 (1370173) on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:44PM (#40048267)

    this. people here simply don't care about concepts such as internet censorship. most are just managing to survive.

  • It won't work for very long. The Mahatma Gandhi angle only works for the older folks. The young folks are not going to be that affected by it. They will not be pleased with the govt changing their lifestyle. There will be definitely some issues.. and if they get mad enough they'll vote en masse.
  • by ixarux (1652631) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @01:11AM (#40049503)
    People in the developed world, in line with their general ignorance of developing countries, seem to not be aware of some important facts. India is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest Facebook market by number of users as early as 2015. [thenextweb.com] 7% of India has internet access, and given India's population, even 7% of its population amounts to more people than many Western European countries. Internet censorship is therefore a big deal and it will affect the lives of millions. Like all developing countries, India grapples with poverty. But on the other end, the rich and middle-class in India are at levels of Western society, in terms of both awareness and with a very major stake in the internet.
  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @06:42AM (#40050413) Homepage Journal

    Free internet poses risks. Risks are an opportunity for regulators to expand their fiefdom. The risk-averse public sector, if left unchecked (by unbalanced budgets) will take over the free economy like a bad antibiotic-immune staph infection, or auto-immune disease.

    I deal internationally with many nations, and have repeatedly tried, but have never been able to do anything successfully in India. Despite low linguistic barriers, savvy businesspeople, educated populace, and an adorably intelligent PM (Singh), there is just an impossible number of bureaucrats to obtain approval from. I attribute it to a tipping-scale of public-sector employees set up by Indira Gandhi. Once you create a certain ratio of regulator jobs to the private sector jobs, it's very difficult to reverse it.

    By 2nd analogy, regulators are like basketball referees, you need a few. but too many make it impossible to navigate the basketball court.

    Public sector regulators do not get rewarded when things go right in the private sector (what did they have to do with it but stay out of the way?) but are punished for allowing it if something went wrong. It's by nature risk averse, and prone to setting limits on everything. It's easier for a public sector manager to hire a new person than to undertake the unpleasant and near-impossible task of laying off an unproductive person. To get new hires, you need a risk or danger (or type of foul) to protect the public from. At some point the public has such a stake in public sector job security (family with salaries from referee jobs) that it's nearly impossible to reverse, and the economy - the basketball game - slows and stagnates. Africa has the same problem.

    Eventually, (my theory goes) incompetence sets in and almost appears to heal the public sector employment imbalance. The public bureaucracy becomes so crowded that nothing gets done, and the regulators start to feel anonymous and disenfranchised by the command-and-control network. China's Communist Party had so much corruption in the 1980s that the regulations were completely randomized, and the economy grew by accepted practice of ignoring entrenched regulators. The refs in China were blowing whistles that everyone ignored, basketball players passed and circled around them, or paid the regulator to sit off the court. Unfortunately, like (analogy 3) Lyme disease, the idled refs never really go away. Indira created lots of public sector employment. Hiring public employees is like feeding a (#4) dragon that gets bigger with every bite, and even if it's a nice dragon now, you will still be in the cage with it tomorrow.

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