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Internet And Social Media Surveillance And Censorship Would Increase In India Now

Internet Surveillance

Slowly and steadily Indian government has been able to compromise Rule of Law, Fundamental Rights and Human Rights in India. Unfortunately, Supreme Court of India helped Indian government in its quest to destroy Human Rights in Cyberspace.

First it allowed unconstitutional provisions under Indian Telegraph Act, Information Technology Act, 2000, etc to continue despite they being clearly violative of Indian Constitution. Then it allowed Orwellian Aadhaar to continue and allowed further to use it for limited purpose of subsidy seeking by Indians. Of course, some brakes were put by Supreme Court in Aadhaar judgment on unconstitutional and unregulated surveillance capacity of Indian government and its agencies.

But as expected, Indian government was not deterred from that limitation. It went overboard and authorised 10 intelligence and law enforcement agencies in a single notification to engage in illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance and snooping upon law abiding citizens. This is despite the fact this this is violation of right to privacy as decided by a 9 judge bench of Supreme Court.

Keeping in mind the surveillance friendly nature of Indian Supreme Court, even this unconstitutional surveillance act of Indian government may go unnoticed and unopposed. But despite Supreme Court’s failure to protect our Human Rights, we at India’s exclusive Centre of Excellence for Protection of Human Rights in Cyberspace (CEPHRC) are committed to fight against government’s surveillance, snooping, spying and privacy violating activities.

Very few of national and international stakeholders are aware that we are also managing a blog that is discussing surveillance and censorship issues of Internet and Social Media in India. It remained dormant for sometime like our other blogs but now is the right time to update it on regular basis.

Meanwhile, we have launched an online portal that is allowing stakeholders to report cyber law, cyber security, privacy and data protection breaches In India and other jurisdictions. If you come across any surveillance or privacy violation activity of Indian government or its agencies, create a ticket and we would pursue the same free of cost. Even if Supreme Court is not rendering justice to Indians, we at Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) would not let you down.

Google Is Tampering With Timestamp Of Digital India Related Dissenting News

Google Is Tampering With Timestamp Of Digital India Related Dissenting NewsGoogle has been censoring news in India in one form or another for long. Most of the times it is the critical news that challenges the policies and decisions of Indian government that are censored by Google. Digital India is one such policy initiatives of Indian government that is not at all tolerant to dissenting, critical and opposite views.

Initially Twitter started censoring Digital India related critical tweets and it is still doing the same. However, that was not enough and now Google has joined this censorship nuisance.

In a bizarre incidence, Google has manipulated timestamp of Digital India related dissenting news to remove it from latest news search results. The idea is to make the impact of the news minimum. A post of similar nature has already been censored by Google from its organic search results.

This is surprising as a government possessing the blind support of print and digital media has to resort to such negative tactics is really embarrassing. Even Google has failed to protect civil liberties in cyberspace as it has unreasonably curbed the speech and expression rights of the sole voice questioning the negative aspects of Digital India project.

Both Google and Indian government have forgotten that Internet or cyberspace cannot be regulated in this manner. If one thing is censored another would turn up with a different name and location. This post is the testimony of this position and we hope good sense would prevail over Google and Indian government in this regard.

Right To Be Forgotten And Google Censorship Issues: India Needs To Be Stern And Courageous In This Regard

PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW AND CEO OF PTLBGoogle is world’s top rated search engine where a majority of Internet surfers prefer to search for answers to their questions. This gives Google tremendous power over crucial and sensitive information of many users that can be correlated and corroborate with ease. Of course, this dominant position of Google is not free from anti competition and data protection legal requirements.

In a landmark judgement, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that Google must ensure Right to Be Forgotten to its users. This is in continuation of European Union’s earlier efforts to strengthen privacy rights and data protection amid global e-surveillance practices. Now Right to Be Forgotten can be enforced against Google in Europe. In fact, takedown requests have already been made to Google and companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, etc are also exploring various legal possibilities in this regard.

Google can already be approached for removal of objectionable contents as per the laws of United States. However, this is a problematic solution as Google refuses to obey laws of other countries, including India. While Indian government is taking Google lightly yet many individuals have dragged Google to Indian Courts on numerous occasions. Google is presently fighting an online defamation case at Supreme Court of India. Nevertheless the attitude of Google vis-à-vis compliance with Indian laws is more on the side of defiance than compliance.

On many occasions results in general search and news disappears and Google never gives any explanation in this regard. Blogs and web resources are frequently demoted and removed from search results all of a sudden. There is no explanation whatsoever from Google regarding these activities and this must be regulated in various jurisdictions, including India.

Indian government itself has created an endemic e-surveillance model for its own unconstitutional purposes. India is one of the countries that do not believe in civil liberties protection in cyberspace at all.

India’s own Projects like Aadhar, National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Central Monitoring System (CMS), Centre for Communication Security Research and Monitoring (CCSRM), Internet Spy System Network And Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) of India, etc are violative of Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace. None of them are governed by any Legal Framework and none of them are under Parliamentary Scrutiny.

Whether Google admits it or not Google is actively engaging in censorship in India for meeting Indian government’s demands and to protect its own commercial interests. Many media reports have also alleged that Google allows backdoor to U.S. intelligence and security agencies for enabling them to conduct e-surveillance and eavesdropping. Although Google denies these allegations yet there is much substance in the allegations of backdoor support and mere denial on the part of Google would not be sufficient to eliminate the suspicion. Similarly, Google also needs to explain about censorship of search results and news items from its results.

The present Indian government has adopted a very soft approach towards Google and other foreign companies that are playing with Indian laws. Whether it is e-commerce compliances in India or cyber law compliances, companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc must be forced to obey Indian laws. A strong government alone can enforce this much needed requirement.

The ECJ has shown its metal and it is now for Indian Courts to do the same. For instance, the e-mail policy of India needs to be urgently implemented in India. E-mail service providers like G-mail are abetting and encouraging commission of cyber crimes as well. E-mail service providers like G-Mail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc are also facilitating violating the provisions of Public Records Act, 1993 wherever public records are involved. The sooner Indian Courts deal with companies like Google stringently the better it would be for the Civil Liberties of Indian Citizens.

Google Censored Organ Transplantation Mafia News

Google Censored Organ Transplantation Mafia NewsIn a gruesome incidence, the parents of a girl child claim that she was murdered for harvesting her organs.

An appeal to the Indian government has also been made to investigate into the matter.

Surprisingly our mainstream media did not cover the news. The only coverage can be found in the form of a news report here.

Unfortunately, this single news report has been censored and deleted by Google form its news sources.

It is really unfortunate and a miscarriage of justice for the parent of the deceased girl. Till the time of writing this post, we did not receive any response or assurance from Indian government.

Is Google Playing Stupid Or Is IT Actually Stupid?

Is Google Playing Stupid Or Is IT Actually StupidGoogle is engaging in unreasonable manual action penalty and censorship of blogs in India and abroad. There are many blogs that have been censored by Google to further its own commercial interests with active disregard to civil liberties and freedom of speech and expression.

For instance, the following blogs have been demoted and subjected to manual action penalty by Google without any reason and justification:

(1) Cyber Forensics In India

(2) Cyber Security In India

(3) E-Discovery Services In India

(4) E-Commerce Laws And Regulations In India

(5) Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB)

(6) Corporate Laws In India

(7) Techno Legal Online Dispute Resolution Services, etc.

Of late, Google has started playing ignorant and stupid while handing DMCA complaints. Google is removing the contents of copyright holders and DMCA notice sender instead of the infringer’s posts/search results.

There are many reasons for censoring and manipulation of SERPS, news and blog results by Google.  Further, there are methods that Google uses to filter, manipulate and censor contents.

Google has once against played stupid despite many communications from our side that clearly mentioned about the original source of copyrighted article and copyright infringing material.

Google has once again removed the original and copyrighted article instead of removing the copyright infringing material. Our article titled “Cyber Security Capabilities of India Must be Strengthened” has been first shifted to draft folder and then deleted by ignorant employees of Google.

It is high time for Google to stop these negative tactics that its employees are openly engaging in and do the needful as required by DMCA law and other applicable laws.

Cyber Security Related Blogs And News Censored By Google

Cyber Security Related Blogs And News Censored By GoogleGoogle has once again demoted and censored many blogs in India. The chief among them are Cyber Forensics in India, Cyber Security in India, E-Discovery Services In India, E-Commerce Laws And Regulations In India, Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB), Corporate Laws In India, Techno Legal Online Dispute Resolution Services, LPO and KPO in India, etc.

This is not the first time that Google has done so. According to media reports, Google is engaging in illegal blogs and news censorship in India. There are many news that has been censored by Google from time to time. The latest to add to this list is the news article titled “Cyber security in India is needed”.

For some strange reasons blogs and news pertaining to cyber security and cyber forensics have been openly censored by Google. The reason for the same is still unknown but Google is definitely aware of what is happening in its house.

This episode also gives rise to a question-is Google manipulating and abusing its dominant position and is engaging in unfair trade practices? Perhaps the competition commission of India and federal trade commission of US must initiate an investigation into this practice of Google.

Google Censored and Demoted More Blogs In India

Google Censored and Demoted More Blogs In IndiaIt seems the affairs of Google are well beyond its control. From news censorship to blog censorship, Google has been doing it all. Initially it used to be a piecemeal work but now Google has been indulging in mass censorship and mass demotion of blogs.

Manual action penalty by Google is in abundance these days. However, what is surprising is the fact that Google is indulging in illegal and wrong manual action penalty and blogs and news censorship.

Even worst is the aspect that Google never discloses the reason for such censorship and manual penalty. The aggrieved person has no remedy to agitate against the wrong doings of Google.

The following websites have been demoted and subjected to manual action penalty by Google without any reason and justification:

(1) Cyber Forensics In India

(2) Cyber Security In India

(3) E-Discovery Services In India

(4) E-Commerce Laws And Regulations In India

(5) Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB)

(6) Corporate Laws In India

(7) Techno Legal Online Dispute Resolution Services

The list is just illustrative and we are investigating the issue. We would come up with more details in this regard very soon.

Google Censored Another News In India

Google Censored Another News In IndiaPower companies in Delhi are openly engaging in excessive and exorbitant electricity bills charging that is not legally due to their customers. In the past, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) was punished by DERC for similar reasons.

This illegal money making exercise of power companies of Delhi is happening with active support of Delhi government that has not taken any action against the defaulting companies despite many complaints and protests.

Even the assurances of Delhi’s chief minister Sheila Dikshit proved nothing more than lip service. However, if this was not enough Google has been censoring news pointing towards such corrupt practices happening in open in Delhi.

Google has censored the news titled “Power Companies Defying Delhi Chief Minister’s Directions” at the instance of some of the power companies who do not wish to be exposed. Even the hand of Delhi government in it cannot be ruled out. This censorship exercise is not only wrong but is clearly illegal on the part of Google as it has not provided any intimation or/and option to counter false claims of such power companies.

Google has been censoring news in India for long and we believe it is high time to send a notice to them and ask for proper explanation in this regard. This is so because if Google is following Indian laws then it has to comply with the same for all purposes. On the other hand, if Google is following US laws then there is an obligation on its part to provide an opportunity to the aggrieved party to represent his/her/its case.

The unilateral action of censorship on the part of Google is therefore clearly illegal and needs to be checked legally. We are working in this direction and would update our viewers very soon.

Google Continues To Censor News In India

Google Continues To Censor News In IndiaGoogle has been engaging in censorship and filtering of results in India for long. This includes censorship and filtering of blog posts, news, robots restrictions, etc. The latest to add to this list is the news article titled “Radia Tapes, Ratan Tata’s Privacy, Fundamental Rights and Public Interest” that has been censored on 05-09-2012.

The news article in question has nothing controversial but it is discussing about some of the most corruption related aspects of India. Perhaps, the article has brought out in public the dirty linen of Indian government but the censorship act of Google has also brought Google’s dirty linen in public as well.

It seems Indian government is not interested in putting the truth before the public at large. First it claimed that it has destroyed the Radia tapes and then it claimed that the investigation is still going on so the tapes are required to be kept in safe custody.

However, the Indian government has still not told the Supreme Court of India who leaked the tapes. It seems public interest is not important and all the Indian government is doing is hiding of the dirty facts and truths of Radia tapes controversy.

As opined by Praveen Dalal, managing partner of ICT law firm Perry4Law, “The Indian Constitutional Scheme is based upon “Balance of Rights” and no right is absolute in nature. In case of conflict between two Fundamental Rights, the Fundamental Right that strengthens and substantiate the Public Interest should prevail”. Hence if there is a conflict between Right to Privacy and Right to Information/know, information can be disclosed in certain circumstances to substantiate and strengthen Public Interest, opines Dalal.

It is high time for Indian government to disclose who leaked the Radia tapes. Similarly, the Supreme Court of India must also keep in mind the balance of fundamental rights as citizens of India have a right to know about the corrupt practices happening within the governmental functioning.

Censorship By Google Using Hidden Robots Text File Restrictions

Censorship By Google Using Hidden Robots Text File Restrictions There are various methods through which Google censors and manipulates SERPs, news, blogs and other results. Google rely heavily upon the “crawling methodology” to produce results as per its own requirements. Google may create a 503 error or other such error. However, such an error is apparent if you analyse the webmaster tool.

It seems Google has developed another innovative method of censorship of posts that it finds controversial. Google seems to be manipulating the robots text file (robots. txt) to block even those posts and segments that are not, by design, supposed to be blocked.

The worst part is that it is done in a clandestine manner and you cannot do much even if you thoroughly analyse the webmaster tool.  Today I spend an entire day to understand why the post titled “cyber forensics and Indian approach” was censored by Google.

I analysed the webmaster tool and found the message telling me that the “health” of the blog titled Cyber Forensics in India is not in good shape. The exact message reads “Severe health issues are found on your site – Check site health”. Upon further analysing the problem, the webmaster tool told that “some important page is blocked by robots.txt”.

I first analysed the message that reads “Is robots.txt blocking important pages?” and it returned the message that reads “The page you are trying to reach does not exist (404)”. I then tried to analyse the important page that has been blocked by the robots.txt file and it gave me this page.

Before proceeding further, let us check the standard robots.txt file of Blogspot blogs. The standard robots.txt file in case of the present blog (and all other Blogspot blogs as it is similar except the blog address) is as follows:

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google

User-agent: *
Disallow: /search
Allow: /

It is clear that the only thing that has been disallowed by the Blogspot robots.txt file is the /search directory and its sub folders. All other directories and their sub folders are crawlable and accessible to not only Google’s bots but also crawling bots of other search engines as well.

Now when we clicked upon the important page that has been blocked by robots.txt file of our Blog, it took us here. Now this is absurd on at least two counts. Firstly, this is bound to be blocked due to the blocking of search directory so there is nothing unnatural as such. This cannot be termed as a “serious health issue” for the blog.

Secondly, there is no entry or record of the post that has been censored by Google at all. There is no error, either crawling or indexing. There are no malware issues. There are no pages removal issues involved as well.

Clearly, whatever happened to that post happened at the level of Google and Google owes an explanation to us in this regard. We are aware that we are not facing this issue alone and there are tons of examples where these issues have arisen and resolved at Google.

However, we saw no reason for the blocking, filtering, censorship or deindexing of our post. It is time for Google to explain.