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OT: Even The Indian Government Will Spy On You


Nikhil at Medianama has an excellent piece on the stark lack of online privacy or rights. Milind Deora, India’s Minister of State for IT, has defended the Central Monitoring System (CMS) as being protective of security, while it snoops on private conversations, phone, email or otherwise.

The Indian equivalent of PRISM, the US snoopdog in the news recently, is likely to become operational sometime in the next decade, or if you write anything against the government.

This could be off-topic, but it is important that we understand what’s happening. The new IT rules that can take content offline even without a court hearing, or arrest people on a complaint, are a huge problem, and despite the politicians acknowledging it and police officers abusing them. The UID Project could lead to a disaster when that information is shared with parties who needn’t respect user privacy.

But these projects are not the whole problem.

As a data enthusiast I routinely come across data from the government that can easily be misused. Most recent birth-death certificates are now online, complete with details of parents and addresses. In a few years, these kids will become adults, and you could use this unprotected information to do strange things in their names; things that can at the least create a fake credit card in their name or at the worst, involve crime. Regardless of a government spy program or not, your data is out there, and is out there for people to find.

While a government spy program like CMS can easily be misused, I agree with Nikhil that we should force the government to create a privacy law. And then we need to fix the courts to actually protect these rights. (Note: If we can fix the court delays, privacy is only one of the problems we’ll solve) 


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