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India to Revise Enforcement of Internet Law (nytimes.com)
44 points by eshvk 1782 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite

Super super scary. Not much of a democracy without freedom of expression.

"After Renu Srinivasan, 20, Ms. Dhada’s friend, clicked “Like” on Ms. Dhada’s Facebook post, she was also arrested."

Glad to see such a massive round of outrage. Hopefully Australia follows suit with their silly lawsuit win against google.

The text of the legislation in question


66A. Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,—

(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

Explanation.— For the purpose of this section, terms “electronic mail” and “electronic mail message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, images, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.


It is indeed a step in the right direction as far as law is concerned. As for most other things in India, effective implementation always remains a concern.

The girls named in the article Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan have been set free with all charges dropped. Shreya Singhal, a student from Delhi, has also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against Section 66A of the IT act [1]. The SC has accepted this PIL challenging this act [2]. In addition, the Supreme Court of India has asked for an explanation (within a four week time frame) from the Maharashtra government (the state in which the girls reside) regarding the arrests [3].

[1] http://www.livemint.com/Politics/PumX6XBqAeMAeNpspY1BLM/Who-...

[2] http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=782088

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20551955

With the arrival of all electronic communication tools people and government are discovering implications of these media, as well as a new context to the term freedom of expression. It will take some time to crystallize what is acceptable and what is not.

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