When Rights Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Rights: Updated

PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW CEO PTLBThis is the updated version of my previous Article. The background for this article originated in the year 2008 when the Indian Government proposed the Information technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act 2008). From the very beginning it was an E-Surveillance Oriented Legislation that should not have been passed at the very fist instance.

However, riding on the popular support of our Industrial Bodies and in the absence of any fight from our Civil Liberty Activists, the IT Act 2008 was passed without any “Debate” in the Indian Parliament.

Our Politicians, who may be arch rivals for their own political ideologies, were “Unanimous” in passing the Unconstitutional IT Act, 2008 and that also without any “Discussion and Debate”. The IT Act 2008 became part of the present Cyber Law of India.

I have been maintaining that the Cyber Law of India should be Repealed as it carries many “Illegal and Unconstitutional” provisions and most of them pertain to E-Surveillance and Violation of Fundamental Rights. But I am alone in this fight against the Draconian Cyber Law of India and at best I am getting Piecemeal Efforts that are trying to bring some reasonableness in the Cyber Law of India.

Philip R. “Phil” Zimmermann Jr. (born February 12, 1954) is one of the greatest Civil Liberty Protectors in the Cyberspace. Zimmermann is the creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used Email Encryption Software in the world. He is also known for his work in VoIP encryption protocols, notably ZRTP and Zfone. Now the Commercial Version of the same is also available in the form of Silent Circle.

In his rationale for creating PGP he tells that using PGP is good for preserving democracy. He believes that if privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy. This is so true not only in the context of America but also India. India is actively working in the direction of denying Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace.

India is passing through the worst era of Police State and E-Surveillance Society. Even worst is the reliance upon American models that have failed in America itself. But our Government is not discouraged by these failures and it would stop only on the failure of these models in India.

Some of the Illegal and Unconstitutional Projects that require immediate Scrapping are Aadhaar, Central Monitoring System, etc. Even the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Department of Telecommunications (DOT) have joined this blind and ignorant race and are trying to ban Telecommunication Services like Blackberry and Skype and Internet services like Gmail.

These Departments are troubled by the strong and secure Encryption technology and other similar technologies that prevent Unlawful and Illegal E-Surveillance by the Government and its Agencies. Criminals and Terrorists are already using these, and much better options, and these ignorant actions would only trouble and violate the Civil Liberties of Law Abiding Citizens alone.

All the limits in this regard were crossed when the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 (IT Act 2008) was made an enforceable law in India. The IT Act 2008 provides Unregulated, Unconstitutional and Illegal E-Surveillance, Internet Censorship and Website Blocking Powers in the hands of Indian Government and its Agencies. There is no mechanism at all that can prevent the abuses of these powers and there is no accountability as well.

A time has come in India when Human Rights in Cyberspace are clearly outlawed and only outlaws (as per the norms and standards of Indian government) would have these Human Rights. This is the main reason why I dedicated a resource titled Human Rights Protection in Cyberspace (HRPIC) (and now CLPIC) to those law abiding Citizens who cherish and wish to protect their Civil Liberties in Cyberspace.

We must strongly protect our Civil Liberties as the Big Brother is Listening in India. In fact, the Big Brother has Exceeded its Limits beyond Constitutional Limits. The “Blanket Implementation” of the central Monitoring System (CMS) Project of India is violation of Civil Liberties in Cyberspace. The CMS Project would be “Illegal and Unconstitutional” if implemented in its “Current Form”.

With further Illegal and Unconstitutional Projects like CCTNS, NATGRID, UID Project/Aadhar Project, etc things are only going to be worst in India. The only option remains is to use Self Defence against the Persons, Institutions and Agencies that are engaging in Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance and Civil Liberty Violations.