Mumbai Police Is Checking What You’re Downloading #Privacy


By  on Apr 3rd, 2013  |  

Mumbai Police has set up a Social Media lab, along with team of cyber experts, and with the help of ISPs, is conducting random checks on content that is being downloaded from certain sites, including torrents, and especially Internet users with large data downloads, reports DNA, quoting Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner (Crime), Mumbai Police. As per the report, on the basis of a complaint from a copyrights holder, the police warned and let off an IT professional who was using his office computer (and we assume, connection) to download torrents. The company emailed its employees to stay off torrent sites.

Copyright owners have, in the past, got websites blocked, hired people to conduct likely-to-be-illegal DDoS attacks, and got all-encompassing John Doe Orders to get anything they want blocked.

Our Take

While it quotes a “cyber security expert” who says that the Copyright Act, the IPC or section 66 of India’s IT Act can be used in this case, it doesn’t question why the person was let off with a warning. That seems rather arbitrary, because if a complaint has been filed, surely the decision on whether to let the person go or not should be left to the Judiciary, not the Police. Or does the Police usually go warning people and letting them go after copyright owners file a complaint? The report doesn’t mention the complainant, the user, the company involved, the content being downloaded or the torrent site.

Is this tapping of citizens’ Internet connections legal? If you look at the 1996 PUCL judgment on (phone) tapping, it clearly points out:

Telephone – Tapping is a serious invasion of an individual’s privacy. With the growth of highly sophisticated
communication technology, the right to sold telephone conversation, in the privacy of one’s home or office without interference, is increasingly susceptible to abuse. It is no doubt correct that every Government, howsoever democratic, exercises some degree of subrosa operation as a part of its intelligence outfit but at the same time citizen’s right to privacy has to be protected from being abused by she authorities of the day.

The judgment states:

1. An order for telephone-tapping in terms of Section 5(2) of the Act shall not be issued except by the Home Secretary, Government of India (Central Government) and Home Secretaries of the State Governments. In an urgent case the power may be delegated to an officer of the Home Department the Government of India and the State Governments not below the rank of Joint Secretary. Copy of the order shall be sent to the Review Committee concerned with one week of the passing of the order-.2. The order shall require the person to whom it is addressed to intercept in the course of their transmission by means a public telecommunication system, such communications as are described in the order. The order may also require the person to whom it is addressed to disclose the intercepted material to such persons and in such manner as are described in the order.

The Police and their CyberCrime cells proactively scanning Internet connections certainly amounts to invasion of privacy.

Readers should also be aware that India doesn’t have a privacy law, as was pointed out by the Standing Committee that criticised the Indian government’s Unique Identity project, saying that

“In the absence of data protection legislation, it would be difficult to deal with the issues like access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching of data bases and securing confidentiality of information etc.”

Maybe it’s time someone filed a case to prevent government organizations from snooping on its citizens, ad-hoc. If you’re not worried yet, take a look at the Home Ministry’s snooping tender that we’d written about.

Odisha to have Police Complaints Authorities #goodnews #mustshare


 

THURSDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2012 
PNS | CUTTACK

Beware, men in khaki! Police Complaints Authorities (PCAs) in Odisha are now going to be a reality to police the erring policemen who were hitherto getting away after committing acts of omission and commission.

Disposing of a PIL (public interest litigation) pertaining to formation of PCAs, the Odisha High Court on Wednesday directed the petitioner to approach the State Home Secretary with a representation in this regard.

The Home Secretary, in his turn, would act upon the representation within 60 days, a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice BK Mishra said in its order.

Secretary of Nationalists Lawyers’ Forum Nishikanta Mishra had filed the PIL last month stating that the cases of police misconduct have been mounting in Odisha and there is no independent accountable mechanism to address such blatant wrongdoings of police personnel.

Mishra had maintained that the Supreme Court, way back in 2006, had given the guidelines to all the States to form PCAs at the district and State levels. But unfortunately, the Odisha Government has not bothered to set up such authorities even after six years, Mishra had alleged, wishing the HC’s immediate intervention in the issue.

“As per today’s High Court direction, we are going to submit a representation to the Home Secretary soon, and we hope good sense will prevail upon the State Government in setting up PCAs so that the police highhandedness during arrests and interrogations and custodial violence are checked,” Mishra said after the HC pronounced its order.

The PCAs would inquire into the allegations of serious misconduct of police personnel which includes any act of a police officer that leads to death in police custody, grievous hurt, rape or attempt to commit rape, arrest or detention without due process of law, extortion, land or house grabbing or any incident involving serious abuse of authority by police personnel.

As per the apex court’s guidelines, there should be PCA at the district level to look into complaints against police officers up to the rank of DSP. Similarly, the guidelines said there should be another PCA at the State level to look into complaints against officers of the rank of SP and above.

 

We want to know where is Fasih Mehmood #disappearances


Produce Fasih Mahmood in an Indian court

Produce Fasih Mahmood in an Indian court

It has been over ten days that Fasih Mahmood was practically disappeared from his residence in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, where he worked as an engineer. On 13th May, Sunday, Mahmood was taken away by a group of Indian and Arab men, all in civil dress, and their house searched, while his wife, NIkhat Perveen, was held in a room by an Arab woman.

While his wife and family have received no official communication from the Indian government, speculation has been rife in the press that Mahmood has been arrested—a wholly wrong usage, as it can only be termed illegal detention—for being financier to the alleged terror plots of the shadowy organistaion, Indian Mujahideen. While pleas of Nikhat seeking the details of her husband’s whereabouts are falling on deaf ears, unnamed ‘sources’ are zealously leaking allegations against Mahmood to the press. So far, MHA, MEA and NHRC have all obstinately stonewalled Nikhat entreaties, feigning ignorance. The Home Secretary has refused to give any assurance to Nikhat that her husband would be produced; indeed, he claimed to have no information on him.

Fasih Mahmood’s illegal detention in an undisclosed location, possibly on foreign land, is in gross violation of all established legal procedures.

I demand that Fasih Mahmood must be immediately produced in an Indian court, and that the Indian government officially own up to this illegal ‘arrest’.

Fasih Mahmood must be given immediate access to his family and lawyers.

PLEASE SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AND SHARE WIDELY

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