Snooping or saving? on proposed online surveillance

Right to Privacy

Proposed rules for online monitoring should balance legitimate interest with privacy

Laws seeking(मांग/प्रयास करना) to regulate online activity, especially(ख़ास तौर पर) on social media, will have to be tested against two fundamental rights: free speech and privacy. Regulations that abridge(हनन /संक्षेप करना) these rights tend to operate(काम करना/संचालित करना) in both positive and negative ways. For instance(उदाहरण), statutory(क़ानूनी/वैधानिक) norms relating to data protection are seen as essential(आवश्यक/अनिवार्य) to protect citizens from any breach of their informational privacy; but attempts(प्रयास) to regulate online content are seen with suspicion(संदेह/शंका). The latter category evokes doubt whether they violate(उल्लंघन) their freedom of expression(अभिव्यक्ति) (as enforcement of such rules may involve(शामिल)blocking websites, disabling(अक्षम बनाना/दुर्बल करना) accounts, removing content and intercepting(बाधा डालना/रोकना) communication), and amount to surveillance that breaches privacy. Two official documents, one of them a draft proposal, that seek to introduce changes in the way rules for interception and monitoring(निगरानी) of computer-based information are applied have caused(वजह) a furore(उपद्रव /हंगामा). The first was an order authorising(अधिकृत) 10 agencies under the Centre to implement Section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act, as amended in 2008, which allows interception, monitoring and decryption of information transmitted through or stored in a computer resource(संसाधन।). The other is a draft proposing changes to the rules framed in 2011 for “intermediaries”(बिचौलियों /मध्यवर्ती संस्थाएँ) such as Internet and network service providers and cyber-cafes. While the order listing 10 agencies does not introduce any new rule for surveillance, the latter envisages(सामना करना/परिकल्पना करना new obligations(दायित्वों/कर्तव्य) on service providers.

Are India’s laws on surveillance a threat to privacy?

critical(संकटमय/महत्वपूर्ण) change envisaged is that intermediaries should help identify the ‘originator’(प्रवर्तक/पहल करनेवाला) of offending(अपमान करना/नुक़सान पहुंचाना) content. Many were alarmed by the possibility( संभावना) for surveillance and monitoring of personal computers that this rule throws up. The government has sought feedback from social media and technology companies, but it appears(लगना/रूप ) that even services that bank on end-to-end encryption may be asked to open up a backdoor to identify ‘originators’ of offending material. There is justified concern(चिंता) that attempts(प्रयास) are on to expand the scope for surveillance at a time when the government must be looking at ways to implement the Supreme Court’s landmark decision holding that privacy is a fundamental right. Some of these rules, originally framed in 2009, may have to be tested against the privacy case judgment, now that the right has been clearly recognised(मान्य/स्वीकृत). It is indeed true that the court has favoured stringent(कठोर/सख़्त) rules to curb online content that promotes child pornography or paedophilia, foments sectarian violence(सांप्रदायिक हिंसा ) or activates(सक्रियता) lynch(सज़ा/मारपीट करना)-mobs(भीड़). While the exercise to regulate online content is necessary, it is important that while framing such rules, a balance is struck(मारना/हड़ताल करना)between legitimate public interest and individual(व्यक्तिगत) rights. And it will be salutary if judicial approval is made anessential(आवश्यक) feature(खूबियां) of all interception and monitoring decisions

Important Vocabulary

1. Seeking(मांग/प्रयास करना)
Synonyms: searching, hunting, probing, pursuing

2. Abridge(हनन /संक्षेप करना)
Synonyms: abbreviate, curtail, truncate, abstract, chop
Antonyms: expand, extend. increase, lengthen, add

3. Disabling(अक्षम बनाना/दुर्बल करना)
Synonyms: damage, debilitate, exhaust, handicap, harm
Antonyms: aid, assist, benefit, build, create

4. Expression(अभिव्यक्ति)
Synonyms: definition, explanation, interpretation, language, phrase
Antonyms: question, silence, concealment, denial, quiet

5. “Intermediaries”(बिचौलियों /मध्यवर्ती संस्थाएँ
Synonyms: broker, emissary, go-between, mediator, negotiator
Antonyms: end

6.Envisages(सामना करना/परिकल्पना करना
Synonyms: anticipate, behold, conceive, conceptualize, contemplate

7. Critical(संकटमय/महत्वपूर्ण)
Synonyms: demanding, analytical, belittling, biting, calumniatory
Antonyms: complimentary, laudatory, praising, trivial, uncritical

8. Offending(अपमान करना/नुक़सान पहुंचाना
Synonyms: aggrieve, anger, annoy, antagonize, disgust
Antonyms: aid, assist, assuage, calm, comfort

9. Concern(चिंता)
Synonyms: burden, interest, involvement, matter, thing
Antonyms: entertainment, fun, pastime, unemployment, disinterest

10. Stringent(कठोर/सख़्त)
Synonyms: binding, demanding, draconian, exacting, forceful
Antonyms: amenable, calm, easy, easy-going, facile

11. Lynch(सज़ा/मारपीट करना)
Synonyms: execute, hang, kill, murder
Antonyms: bear, create

12. Struck(मारना/हड़ताल करना)
Synonyms: battered, hurt, pounded, smacked

13.Feature(खूबियां)
Synonyms: article, aspect, character, component, detail
Antonyms: whole

14. Intercepting(बाधा डालना/रोकना)
Synonyms: ambush, arrest, block, catch, cut off
Antonyms: allow, encourage, free, give, let go

 

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