Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Censorship Privacy Government The Internet News Your Rights Online

India Sleepwalks Into a Surveillance Society 292

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

India Sleepwalks Into a Surveillance Society

Comments Filter:
  • 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 Then there's a big public cry of outrage, and the legislation is withdrawn.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.

  • by nitsnipe ( 1332543 ) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @04:31AM (#26309983)
    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.

    Setup GRUB so that:
    -WinXP boots by default
    -Grub doesn't show up at all unless desired combination is pressed upon bootup.

    Label the linux partition as Recovery or Backup, be creative.
    Do all your deemed illegal things on linux, and your "civilized" things on windows.
    Use TrueCrypt hidden volumes for storing sensitive information, in case you are extorted.
    Use HotspotShield VPN or Ultrasurf proxy for browsing the web.
    If you can get a hold of a linux box in europe set-up openvpn with it.

    Have a bootable livelinux on your thumbdrive just in case, along with portable truecrypt and stored hidden volumes if necessary.
    Don't ever backup the same thing twice.
    Use sneakernet or snailmail for sharing information with friends.
    GnuPG is your best friend.


  • 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.
  • by iammani ( 1392285 ) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @06:12AM (#26310411)

    Yet another law enacted by the british. This one was written about 148 years ago.

    Its just that no politician wants to risk legalising sodomy. It offers no returns in terms of votes, and is more of a risk.

  • 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 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 Faylone ( 880739 ) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @07:18AM (#26310635)
    Considering this is the place that gave the world the Kama Sutra, yeah...things have certainly changed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2009 @08:29AM (#26310911)

    who sells those CDs.

    Without a "permit" he cant sell CDs and the permit is a virtual bill of about 100-200 bucks a day.
    Now which corrupt cop will want to stop earning a third of the month's salary for doing nothing?
    To uphold a law passed in a North Indian office called Parliament where people are busy collecting other "permit fees"?
    Gimme a break!

    Porn sells like ... well, porn, and you can't get the cop to stop it - he loves the cash - and he watches the porn too.

    That's the problem for parents, not the law.
    Girls get pregnant at such "porn viewing sessions"(No, not from personal experience...).
    And that's considered horrible in Indian culture - she might not get married EVER if its known to ANYONE. India is a different place. Premarital sex is the worst shame in India - and probably rightly so for our society. It's fraught with risks like STD infections, emotional turmoil, possibility of mental problems, addiction to drugs and God knows what else.
    Parents know this and that's why this law - parents vote, after all.
    Of course, flame me to death for talking against your sensibilities, but India has a different culture.

  • by Uzik2 ( 679490 ) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @09:57AM (#26311249)
    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.
  • by edmicman ( 830206 ) on Saturday January 03, 2009 @01:00PM (#26312247) Homepage Journal
    People that want to help the common good and their fellow man? Lay off the cynicism buddy...
  • 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 Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 03, 2009 @02:31PM (#26312889) Homepage Journal


    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 just because we like destruction? Or do we have some (generally half-baked) rational for doing it? Was our "shock and awe" campaign at the beginning of the Iraq War v.2 just for wanton destruction? The name belays the fact that it was a violent act used to psychologically overwhelm and demoralize the enemy, and thus an act akin to terrorism (definition wise).

    I would posit that terrorism is probably a flawed approach, but I think its easy to grasp for the desperate. How are you supposed to tell the worlds antagonistic bullies to go away when your a poor country, without a standing military, and lacking the 30 years of advances we have (and impart to our equally antagonistic allies)? What do you do when you actually think that someone much bigger and more powerful than you is actively trying to destroy you, your way of life, and your home? What do you do when there is no chance whatsoever of an equal playing field?

    I'm not saying these people are correct in this (though I'm beginning to suspect it), but put yourself in their shoes. Or at least analyze the violence that you deem as acceptable because it is your own.

    Were the Americans "terrorists" in the Revolutionary war?

  • by Skjellifetti ( 561341 ) on Sunday January 04, 2009 @01:30PM (#26321023) Journal
    Get off your high horse and do some reading yourself, dude. If the Brits had truly thrown the full weight of Her Empire into crushing the spine of the people, India would probably look more like the Congo than the flourishing Democracy it is today. If you were capable of following your own advice by trying to understand the world in more hues than black or white you would remember that the Brits brought India an educated civil service and an independent judiciary among other useful tools of government as well as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and other assorted nastiness. And if you had actually done all of that reading you claim, you would be aware that the effects of 100 or so years of Euro colonialism that ended 60 years ago are a tiny pinprick on Indian society and politics when compared to the effects of over 3000 years of human habitation on the subcontinent.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.