An analysis of privacy in the context of India
Basic Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Infrastructure is used to observe movements from a central room, and consists of one or more video cameras that transmit video and audio images to a set of monitors or video recorders.
Would you make duplicates of your house keys and hand them over to the local police authority? And if so, would you feel safe? Naturally, one would protest this invasion of privacy. Similarly, would it be justified for the government to have a copy of the private key to intercept and decrypt communications? This is the idea behind key escrow; it enables government ‘wiretapping’.
Isn’t it interesting that authorities ask you about your identity and you end up showing your proof of existence! Isn’t this breaching into one’s personal life? Why so much transparency only from the public side? Why can’t the government be equally transparent to the public?, asks Shilpa Narani.
DNA fingerprinting has become the most precise and technologically advanced method for identifying crimes such as murder, kidnapping, robbery and rape. Police and judicial authorities and in some cases even private parties retain this in their records, writes Shilpa in this blog post.
Looking at the larger picture of national security versus consumer privacy, Sahana Sarkar says that though consumer privacy is important in the world of digital technology, individuals must put aside some of their civil liberties when it comes to the question of national security, as it is necessary to prevent societal damage.
The need for video surveillance has grown in this technologically driven era as a mode of law enforcement. Video Surveillance is very useful to governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. In this regard it is pertinent to highlight that not only are governments using this system, but residential communities in certain areas are also using this system to create a safer environment.
On June 23, a public seminar on “Privacy Matters” was held at the Don Bosco Institute in Karhulli, Guwahati. It was organised by IDRC, Society in Action Group, IDEA Chirang, an NGO initiative working with grassroots initiatives in Assam, Privacy India and CIS and was attended by RTI activists and grass roots NGO representatives from across the North Eastern region: Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Nagaland, Assam and Sikkim. The event focused on the challenges and concerns of privacy in India.
Earlier this year, in February 2011, Rajeev Chandrasekhar introduced the Right to Privacy Bill, 2010 in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill is meant to “provide protection to the privacy of persons including those who are in public life”. Though the Bill states that its objective is to protect individuals’ fundamental right to privacy, the focus of the Bill is on the protection against the use of electronic/digital recording devices in public spaces without consent and for the purpose of blackmail or commercial use.
In her research, Sonal Makhija, a Bangalore-based lawyer, tries to delineate the emerging privacy concerns in India and the existing media norms and guidelines on the right to privacy. The research examines the existing media norms (governed by Press Council of India, the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Code of Ethics drafted by the News Broadcasting Standard Authority), the constitutional protection guaranteed to an individual’s right to privacy upheld by the courts, and the reasons the State employs to justify the invasion of privacy. The paper further records, both domestic and international, inclusions and exceptions with respect to the infringement of privacy.
How do you know yourself to be different from others? What defines the daily life that you live and the knowledge you produce in the span of this life? Is all that information yours or are you a mere stakeholder on behalf of the State whose subject you are? What does privacy really mean? In a society that is increasingly relying on information to identify people, collecting and archiving ‘personal’ details of your lives, your name, age, passport details, ration card number, call records etc, how private is your tweet, status update, text message or simply, your restaurant bill?
Today, as I am sure many of you have experienced, Internet scams are widespread and very deceptive. As part of my research into privacy and the Internet, I decided to follow a scam and attempt to fully understand how Internet scams work, and what privacy implications they have for Internet users. Though there are many different types of scams that take place over the Internet —identity scams, housing scams, banking scams— just to name a few. I decided to look in depth at the lottery scam.
Copyright can function contradictorily, as both the vehicle for the preservation of privacy as well as its abuse, writes Prashant Iyengar. The research examines the various ways in which privacy has been implicated in the shifting terrain of copyright enforcement in India and concludes by examining the notion of the private that emerges from a tapestry view of the relevant sections of Copyright Act.
Over the past few days various newspapers have reported the imminent introduction in Parliament, during the upcoming Monsoon session, of a Right to Privacy Bill. Since the text of this bill has not yet been made accessible to the public, this post attempts to grope its way – through guesswork – towards a picture of what the Bill might look like from a combined reading of all the newspaper accounts, writes Prashant Iyengar in this blog post which was posted on the Privacy India website on June 8, 2011.
Prashant Iyengar on how in the eyes of the law, the internet giant is like the homeless in India. This article was published by Tehelka on June 4, 2011.
Vijayashankar, an eminent cyber law expert answers Elonnai Hickok’s questions on bloggers' rights, freedom of expression and privacy in this e-mail interview conducted on May 19, 2011.
In his research article, Prashant Iyengar examines the limits to privacy for individuals in light of the provisions of the Constitution of India, public interest, security of state and maintenance of law and order. The article attempts to build a catalogue of all these justifications and arrive at a classification of all such frequently used terms invoked in statutes and upheld by courts to deprive persons of their privacy.
How do we imagine privacy? How is privacy being built into technological systems? On April 16th,The Center for Internet and Society hosted Privacy by Design, an Open Space meant to answer these questions and more around the topic of privacy. Below is a summary of the conversations and dialogs from the event.
In 2007 a bill known as the Draft DNA Profiling Bill was piloted by the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, an autonomous organization funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. The below is a background to DNA collection/analysis in India, and a critique of the Bill a from a privacy perspective.
On February 20th I had the opportunity to speak with Shubha Chacko on privacy and sex workers. Ms. Chacko is an activist who works for Aneka, an NGO based in Bangalore, which fights for the human rights of sexual minorities. In my interview with Ms. Chacko I tried to understand how privacy impacts the lives of sex workers in India. The below is an account of our conversation.
How do the provisions of the Information Technology Act measure up to the challenges of privacy infringement? Does it provide an adequate and useful safeguard for our electronic privacy? Prashant Iyengar gives a comprehensive analysis on whether and how the Act fulfils the challenges and needs through a series of FAQs while drawing upon real life examples.