Institutions can help find complex balance between privacy and online safety. India’s IT Rules do not meet good institutional design.
A battle rages for the soul of the internet, and there are no easy answers. For several decades, tech companies and governments have waged a battle on whether the latter should be able to access encrypted data that is stored by the former. The internet boom has now embedded tech companies in many aspects of our everyday lives — how we communicate with each other, what we see and think, etc.
Ghosts of the past never truly let our present be free. Instead, in ways both hidden and visible, they spread their tentacles and constrict our experience and imagination of the world. In the wide sweep of human history, we see even minor events reverberate in unpredictable ways centuries later. How could we then expect something as pervasive and dehumanising as colonialism to cede ground to a seemingly benign and free internet? Quite to the contrary, technology has merely turned…
On 11 June, I moderated a panel discussion on the promise and perils of strategic litigation on digital rights. Here’s what I learnt.
From the outside, strategic litigation looks like glamorous work. Picture an eloquent lawyer - the defender of human rights - rattling arguments and making an impassioned plea. High-stakes courtroom battles, with the virtuous lawyer fighting the coercive impulses of governments and the greed of private corporations. There’s something mystical about strategic litigation, especially when one considers that so many hard-fought battles on privacy and digital rights have come through these very means.
New rules provide the government unaccountable power over free online speech, violating separation of power from an erstwhile judicial role
We live in unprecedented times, where technology is creating new and complex problems. Technology is changing the balance of power between governments, corporations, and individuals. A re-alignment is happening as we speak. Many competing interests are at play. Societies need to find fora where we can find a middle ground that is fair and equitable. The sole discretion of governments is clearly not that forum. …
1) Paradigm Initiative joined a group of global digital rights organisations to file an amicus brief in the ongoing US case filed by WhatsApp against the NSO Group (of Pegasus spyware infamy). It argues that NSO should be held accountable for privacy violations http://bloom.bg/3c21qqA
2) Research ICT Africa analysed 14 African countries and found adoption of facial recognition in eight, smart cities in seven, and smart policing in six. Often without regulatory safeguards — e.g. 8 either have no or un-enforced privacy law. bit.ly/3qPtba3
Committee on non-personal data released a much-improved second report. It should fill the substantial gaps in incentives and enforcement
Late last year, the Government-appointed committee on non-personal data released its second report. The first report, released in Sept ’20, had raised fears of ‘nationalisation of data’ and harming the commercial interests of data-based companies. The second report addresses several issues that were raised, and is a substantial improvement over the first. For a detailed comparison of the first and second report, you can read Ikigai Law’s summary.
There’s much to like in this new report. First among them is the…