15 May 2011

What's next? An Internet kill switch?

The Government of India has amended the Information Technology (IT) Act to make the Internet safer. Presumably, for itself.

NGOs, free-speech advocates and legal experts are appalled that the new rules force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block websites hosting content that officialdom deems to be “disparaging”, “harassing”, “blasphemous”, or any of a whole range of other labels that are vague and open to interpretation. To make matters worse, there are no provisions to challenge wrongful interpretations.

News articles covering the subject seems to imply that this is a problem only if it is "enforced", but the very fact that the threat of censorship looms over Indian cyberspace is entirely unacceptable. All laws that rely on the whim of politicians or the judgement of their lackeys are inherently dangerous.

By the way, is there a law that allows the general public to selectively shut down a government department that it considers as "harassing"? Thought not.

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