Privacy Debate

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It took a few years and a lot of campaign at the country level and finally the judicial intervention of the highest court that Aadhar was finally shot down as a key document in routine life. This simple profile of a person’s identities was carrying a number that linked almost everything that a person could possess and the open access it was given to the trade and corporate was almost exposing everything to everybody.

With the technological advancement, mass penetration of the smartphone, improving and cheap bandwidth, and all these changes are pointing towards smarter application that holds more information about a person than ever before. The technology has improved on surveillance front as well. While the satellite in air scans the surface of earth round the clock, the CCTVs fixed almost everywhere watch everything. Systems have evolved smarter ways of policing the information gateway and the race is at a fast pace. Now Hollywood has done series of films in which the lead roles are trying to escape the virtual guard and live peacefully far away from the surface and deep web.

It is in this backdrop that an order was issued by the Home Ministry indicating that ten security agencies have been mandated to check an individual’s computer. Computer owners are supposed to cooperate and a failure would take them to jail for seven years and they will have to pay fine as well. Interestingly, this order is applicable to the Jammu and Kashmir and North East. The order was issued under IT act.

In the case of a criminal investigation, the investigators have enough of laws empowering them to get every single piece of evidence that is required. These do not exclude computers or anything other linked to a computer.

The order issued exclusively mandating ten security agencies to have access to everybody’s computer is an extraordinary one and has the potential of becoming a crisis in the coming days.

The order is coming at a time when the social media is being closely monitored and the allegations of freedom of speech being compromised are becoming increasingly frequent. Off late, there are instances in which the particular pages are being removed, blocked, in certain cases, without any information. This is happening on multiple platforms and somehow Kashmir is somewhere figuring, directly or indirectly.

This debate has now invited the attention of the world body like UN. A free speech defender who works for the UN has actually sent a detailed letter to Twitter, one major social platform, asking them the reasons and details for the deactivations and blockages of the content from or about Kashmir. What response will it receive needs to be seen but will be interesting? Already, Facebook is facing the music for transferring data to corporate.

This all indicates that the systems of governance and the corporate are gradually keen to access, watch and, if required, use the personal data of the citizens. If it remains the way it is moving ahead, the situation is going to push the people towards little new wars in which they will have to put in a serious effort to ensure they have certain privileges for being human.

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