Saturday, December 22, 2018

Snoopers' Charter

Snoopers’ Charter

A news story in NDTV reports a Ministry of Home (nice name), Affairs (abbreviated as, “MHA”) has authorised various police and intelligence agencies to snoop into every computer of everyone in this great country of ours (?).
Here’s the link to the story – and story it is indeed.
Most people do not realise or understand that governments are not there to lord over them.
In democracies – I hope ours is one – elected representatives are just that – representatives.
Evidently, the present government here does not think so.
Ostensibly, the purpose of the executive order is to protect us (or is it, in fact, them?).
The order is like saying that a policeman or policewoman should sit in everyone’s bedroom to prevent spouses from sleeping with someone else while one of them is away!
Nine (9) judges sat for months and came out with a judgement on privacy rights. They agreed – unanimously – that it is a fundamental right.
MHA is cocking a snoop at those poor, powerless (?) judges.
Can’t they take suo moto notice and strike down the order?
Or are they waiting for a PIL?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Central Election Commission and Electronic Voting Machines

Central Election Commission (CEC) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

The CEC has challenged recognised political parties to prove that EVMs are vulnerable to tampering. 

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a genuine effort at finding out whether EVMs could be tampered with or not.

The CEC seems to take a defensive position, more like thumbing its nose at critics.

If the CEC were sincere about finding the truth for itself and rectifying EVMs, it should invite cyber security experts, provide them with facilities to study the machines and their manufacturing processes to assess vulnerabilities.

As a first step, CEC could invite Dr. Prasad, who it had got arrested a couple of years back and his foreign collaborator in the EVM hacking demo. 

I know two experts who are capable and willing to demonstrate how easy it is to manipulate elections which, use these machines.

Will the CEC provide them the facilities?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Academic Freedoms Among Others

Freedom is something priceless. How could one define it? How could one know what it is? 

It is like life. Difficult to define, except as what it is not. Life is that which is not death! So too, freedom is that which is not constrained, fettered or in shackles, mental or physical.

Mental restraint may be as cruel, if not more so, than physical curtailment of liberty. 

There are many kinds of freedoms - to travel (remember one take off from an aircraft for dissent), to speak, to think, to practice and propagate religion, to carry on professions, to write, to subscribe to political ideologies, to gather in protest and so on.

When there are so many varieties of freedoms, why is it that on academia there are many kinds of manacles?

Teachers and students experience all kinds of restrictions. Should we not have a more liberal academic world where many flowers may bloom?

Could we attribute the lack of innovative or original work out from our academia as due to lack of freedoms?

Take a look at three websites; one is Kingston University of the UK, the second is our own JNU and the third, IIT, Chennai.

Here are the links.
  1. Kingston
  2. JNU
  3. IIT, Chennai

The difference is so striking that one wonders where has all our fabled IT prowess gone!

The first is all about students, faculty, courses, facilities, admissions - information useful to those seeking to enter it.

The second two are pathetic. They open with photos of functions, mostly of some government minister or official.

The ethos prevalent here.

A reflection of this is in the recent JNU controversy. Even a judge while granting bail imagined it necessary to the student to curb his youthful exuberance. 

In this context an article in 'The Hindu' of 3 May 2016, titled, "A case for open academic spaces", by Thelma Raju and Noor Ameena makes interesting reading. (Please click the title to access the article.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Techno Legal News: Aadhaar Must Be Scrapped Immediately Opines Praveen Dalal

Techno Legal News: Aadhaar Must Be Scrapped Immediately Opines Praveen Dalal

One cannot but agree with this posting.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Privatisation of Public Utility Services

This is the new game politicians are playing in many countries across the globe. The motivation is obvious, privatise public assets and make money in the bargain.

In democracies politicians are elected to serve people. Once elected, most politicians behave like rulers. 

This is the problem with democracy, which if not solved, would lead to the collapse of democratic system of governance. 

Privatisation of public, that is, people's assets is a symptom of the disease of elected representatives who have visions of regal grandeur .

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

UID is NOT Yours

UID is NOT Yours

We, Gopal, Somasekhar and I, are three who have been campaigning against the obnoxious UID scheme. 

We have published a Monograph with the above title and released it a press meet at Delhi on 27 Nov 2012. 

While many from media attended the meet and even purchased the Monograph, as anticipated, news coverage of the event was meager. 

The reasons are not difficult to understand. Media is gagged indirectly through dark hints and inducements of advertisements. Media is after all a business and business interests of media owners always overtake national interests. 

The Monograph contains articles by six authors who contributed to it. It has news about RTI replies received from UIDAI, which would reveal attempts to hide the dirty secrets about UID from people. It also contains resources from the Internet about UIDAI and its contractors. 

Hard copies are available for purchase. 

A soft copy is available on the clicking the link here.