Logo

Defender of your Digital Freedom

All Posts | Nov 04,2020

Letter to Delhi Government Against Mandatory

Letter to Delhi Government Against Mandatory Installation of Aarogya Setu by Licensees of Wholesale Liquor Vends

Recently, the Department of Excise, Entertainment and Luxury Tax, New Delhi vide its circular no. F.L-1/Ex./IMFL/Mis./2019-20/1719 dated 27.10.2020 made Aarogya Setu mandatory for all the employees. It read as “mandatory use of Aarogya Setu by every workerThe circular further requires all the bond inspectors “to ensure strict compliance of the above guidelines and submit a certificate regarding the same within 3 days to the undersigned.”

Recently, the Karnataka High Court, in its order dated 19.10.2020 in Anivar A Aravind vs. Ministry of Home Affairs (WP (C) 7483 of 2020) ordered that: "Neither the State Government not the Central Government or its agencies or instrumentalities can deny any benefit to a citizen only on the ground that he has not installed the Arogya Sethu application on his cell phone." The Ministry of Home Affairs Guidelines for re-opening dated 30.09.2020 also make installation of Aarogya Setu on "best-efforts" basis.

SFLC.in wrote to Revenue Minister of Government of Delhi requesting him to reconsider this step. Read our letter here:

All Posts | Nov 02,2020

Representation sent to Arunchal Pradesh

A newspaper article dated 30.10.2020 published in Telegraph India titled ‘Arunachal Internet Bar to curb Cheating’ stated that Arunachal Pradesh government will be shutting down internet services on 1st November 2020 in 15 of its districts to ensure that no cheating takes place during state civil service exams.

SFLC.in sent a representation to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh dated 31.10.2020 requesting the state government to reconsider shutting down the internet to prevent cheating in exams.

Suspending Internet services to prevent cheating in exams is a grave violation of  The Temporary Suspension Of Telecom Services (Public Emergency Or Public Safety) Rules, 2017  as well the decision of the honorable Supreme Court of India in Anuradha Bhasin V. Union of India.

SFLC.in requested the State authorities to reconsider shutting down the internet to prevent cheating in examinations. Internet shutdowns have a harrowing impact on citizens and are often disproportionate in nature. Internet shutdowns are bound to cause economic loss, an impact on education, healthcare and other welfare schemes. An internet shutdown during a pandemic can be especially grave considering citizens depend on the internet to get information, work and study.

[pdfjs-viewer viewer_width=0 viewer_height=800 url=undefined download=true print=true fullscreen=true fullscreen_target=false fullscreen_text="View%20Fullscreen" zoom=auto ]

All Posts | Oct 29,2020

Letter to Telangana Government Against Mandatory Aadhaar Data for Non-Agricultural Land Records

Letter to Telangana Government Against Mandatory Aadhaar Data for Non-Agricultural Land Records

As Telangana's Dharani Portal goes live today, we wrote to Government of Telangana against mandatory Aadhaar requirement and caste details for updating non-agricultural property records. These details have to be updated on Telangana State Non Agricultural Property Book mobile application. The manual for this application also provides for mandatory updation of Aadhaar and caste details of persons. The said steps have been undertaken under the newly passed Revenue Bill, 2020 by the Telangana Assembly which is yet to receive Governor's assent.

We wrote to Government to Telangana that they are in violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Justice Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2019 (1) SCC 1)wherein it was held that Aadhaar is mandatory only for:

a. filing IT returns; and

b.for availing government subsidies from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Supreme Court also struck down S. 57 of the Aadhaar Act which permitted use of Aadhaar by the State or any body corporate or person, in pursuance to any contract. The Supreme Court categorically recognized certain data protection principles such as data minimization, purpose limitation , data retention and data security as relevant factors in determining whether the provisions of particular legislation are in conformance with an individual's right to privacy. The State of Telangana has not justified this in the terms of any of these principles.

It is also unclear as to why and how caste data, even though required in broad categories, is relevant in the context of digitisation of non-agricultural property records. 

Through this letter, we have urged the government of Telangana to reconsider these steps and to follow principles of data proportionality and minimisation. 

[pdfjs-viewer viewer_width=0 viewer_height=800 url=undefined download=true print=true fullscreen=true fullscreen_target=false fullscreen_text="View%20Fullscreen" zoom=auto ]

All Posts | Oct 24,2020

Letter to the Kerala Government to Reconsider the Proposal for Amending the Kerala Police Act by inserting Section 118 (A)

Letter to Kerala Government to Reconsider the Proposal for Amending the Kerala Police Act by inserting Section 118 (A)

SFLC.in sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala in reference to the press release dated 21st October 2020 regarding the amendment to the Kerala Police Act, 2011. The said press release states that Kerala Police Act will be amended by inserting Section 118(A) aimed at curbing cyber bullying. The said amendment seeks to impose a fine of 10,000 rupees or a jail term of 5 years or both to any individual who threaten, insult or harm the reputation of an individual through any means of communication. The provision enables crimes to be registered suo moto or by any individual. The wordings of the section suggest that this can be applicable not only to posts on social media but also mainstream media.

We believe that the said amendment if passed can cause a chilling effect on Freedom of Speech and Expression in the
state. The proposed amendment can be used by law enforcement agencies to curb dissent and to clamp
down on legitimate criticism of authorities and individuals.

The letter sent to Sri. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, can be found below:

[pdfjs-viewer viewer_width=0 viewer_height=800 url=undefined download=true print=true fullscreen=true fullscreen_target=false fullscreen_text="View%20Fullscreen" zoom=auto ]

All Posts | Oct 22,2020

Letter to Jawaharlal National University Against Mandatory Installation of Aarogya Setu by Employees and Students

Letter to Jawaharlal National University Against Mandatory Installation of Aarogya Setu by Employees and Students

Recently, the Jawaharlal National University (JNU) made Aarogya Setu mandatory for its employees and students vide order number 01/Admin./Corona(COVID-19)/Misc./2020 dated 21.10.2020. The order reads as "every individual working in the university as an employee or a student should have Aarogya Setu app on their phones. Use of Aarogya Setu by all on campus is mandatory. If unsafe status of Aarogya Setu App is displayed, he/she will not allowed to enter the University campus."

Recently, the Karnataka High Court, in its order dated 19.10.2020 in Anivar A Aravind vs. Ministry of Home Affairs (WP (C) 7483 of 2020) ordered that: "Neither the State Government not the Central Government or its agencies or instrumentalities can deny any benefit to a citizen only on the ground that he has not installed the Arogya Sethu application on his cell phone." The Ministry of Home Affairs Guidelines for re-opening dated 30.09.2020 also make installation of Aarogya Setu on "best-efforts" basis.

SFLC.in wrote to the Vice-Chancellor of JNU urging him to reconsider the mandatory installation of Aarogya Setu. Read our letter to the JNU administration here:

[pdfjs-viewer viewer_width=0 viewer_height=800 url=undefined download=true print=true fullscreen=true fullscreen_target=false fullscreen_text="View%20Fullscreen" zoom=auto ]

All Posts | Oct 20,2020

Event – Creating Safe Spaces Online

SFLC.in in collaboration with Trust Law, Thompson Reuters Foundation is hosting a 2 day event on 'Creating Safe Spaces Online' on 21st-22nd of October 2020. The two day event will have a rountable, a panel as well as a Digital Security Training.

One of the newer threats to freedom of speech and expression and to creating a more inclusive economy, is the rising instances of harassment through online communications and on social media platforms, targeted especially at women. As an increasing number of organisations and individuals are moving their operations online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, trolling, abuse, harassment, hate and smear campaigns are on the rise. Online harassment is also a threat to media and press freedom. This often leads to self-censorship and legitimate professionals being discredited. With newer forms and terminologies used to describe various instances of harassment online, there is a greater need to create awareness and build knowledge so that such instances can be appropriately identified and acted on or reported.

The panel on 21st October 2020 between 5:45PM -7:00PM IST aims to bring together NGOs and individuals working in the space of freedom of speech & expression and media/press freedom to share, learn and collaborate on various aspects of online harassment in India. Through this panel we aim to look for possible solutions to help with problems that have arisen out of our life's moving online due to COVID-19 especially that of women. Online harassment has proven to be a form of censorship and prevents netizens from practicing their right to free speech, especially for women and marginalized communities.

The panelists and the moderator are listed below -

Ms. Mishi Choudhary - Ms. Choudhary is a technology lawyer, licensed to practice in New York & India with a decade & a half of experience. She is the Legal Director of the New York based Software Freedom Law Center & the Founder of http://SFLC.IN. She will be the chair of the event and will be moderating the panel

Mr. Karti Chidambaram - Mr. Chidambaram is a Member of Parliament in the 17th Lok Sabha, representing the constituency of Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu. He is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology. He is also a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

Ms. Akhila Kolishetty - Ms. Kolishetty  is a Co-Director of End Cyber Abuse, a global collective of lawyers and human rights activists working to tackle technology-facilitated gender-based violence by raising awareness of rights, advocating for survivor-centered systems of justice, and advancing equitable design of technology to prevent gendered harms. Akhila is a lawyer, feminist policy advocate, and writer.

Ms. Bishakha Datta -  Ms. Datta is an Indian film maker, activist and a former journalist. She is the co-founder and executive director of Point of View, based in Mumbai, a non-profit working in the area of gender, sexuality and women's rights.

Ms. Trishna Kriplani - Ms. Kriplani is the Legal and Program Manager for South Asia at TrustLaw, Thomson Reuters Foundation. Her role includes a focus on building inclusive economies, trying to strengthen the role of business for change. At the foundation she does this by harnessing the power of law, media and building multi-stakeholder initiatives to influence systemic change. She has over a decade of experience in the legal and humanitarian sector. She is a qualified lawyer in India with a specialization in handling cases of corporate criminal liability.

The panel will be streamed live at https://youtu.be/TIzAAFwsiho

On the second day, that is on 22nd October, there will be a digital security training aimed at educating the partcipants on safe security practices online. The training is Hands-on and interactive. You can read more about the trainings at security.sflc.in. The training will be between 12-2PM

Participants can register for training at - http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5912976/DST-TRAINING-SFLC.

You can contact us for more information at mail@sflc.in and for media queries at press@sflc.in

All Posts | Oct 19,2020

Karnataka High Court Orders That State Cannot Deny Services or Benefits To Citizens Who Do Not Have Aarogya Setu


Update on Anivar A Aravind v. Ministry of Home Affairs, GM PIL WP (C) 7483 of 2020 : Karnataka High Court orders that in the absence of a law State cannot deny services or benefits to citizens who do not have Aarogya Setu

SFLC.in’s advisory board member Mr. Anivar A Arvind has filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court challenging the voluntary-mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu and invasion of privacy rights in the absence of a specific legislation governing data collection and processing by it. He is represented by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, counsels from SFLC.in, Advocate Clifton D’ Rozario, Advocate Avani Choksi and Advocate Ali Zia Kabir in the matter. 

So far, the Government of India through Ministry of Railways, Airports Authority of India and Ministry of Civil Aviation has stated on record that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory to avail rail or air services. The Airports Authority of India also had to revise their state-wise quarantine guidelines which had initially made Aarogya Setu mandatory. Similarly, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) withdrew its initial statement that Aarogya Setu was mandatory for metro commuters. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs also amended their draft Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) which had made Aarogya Setu mandatory for metro commuters. The now notified SoP by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs states that installation of Aarogya Setu is advisable in nature. 

In the last hearing on October 5th, the Respondents i.e. Union of India had sought more time to file objections. The Court had granted them additional 10 days to file their objections and the matter was listed for hearing today i.e. 19.10.2020. 

Proceedings on 19.10.2020

The Counsel for Union of India, today, again sought for another extension to file their statement of objections. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves informed the Court that the matter was listed for interim relief and pressed for interim relief prayers number II and III. 

Interim prayer number II reads as “directing the respondents not to deny any service to a citizen for not installing the Aarogya Setu application, pending disposal of this writ petition”. 

Interim prayer number III reads as “for an order restraining the respondents during the pendency of this petition from proceeding with the Aarogya Setu App and with the data collected, in any manner, whether the collection of data from members of the public is stated to be voluntary or involuntary”. 

He also informed the Court that the Department of Personnel and Training has still made Aarogya Setu mandatory for its employees, and that this is the second extension sought by the counsels for Union of India. To this, the Counsel for Union of India informed the Court currently, there is no record of any state instrumentality mandating Aarogya Setu. 

Hon’ble Chief Justice Abhay Oka ordered that in the absence of a legislation, central and state government or their agencies or instrumentalities cannot deny any benefit or service to a citizen for not installing Aarogya Setu. 

The Karnataka High Court also asked the Counsel for Union of India that “what happens if people do not use mobile phones by choice?” 

The Court granted time to Union of India to file a statement of objections. The matter has been listed for hearing on 10th November. 

S. No.DateAction Taken
1. 04.06.2020Notice issued to respondents & responses to be filed by 11th June. https://sflc.in/petition-challenging-defacto-imposition-aarogya-setu-ka…
2. 12.06.2020Railways and MoCA state on record that Aarogya Setu is not mandatory in naure. Statement of objections to be filed by Respondents if Aarogya Setu requires a specific legislation. https://sflc.in/aarogya-setu-not-mandatory-air-or-rail-travel-update-pe…
3. 10.07.2020Petitioner seeks leave to apply for amendment.
4. 17.07.2020Amendments allowed and adding the Union of India and BMRCL as respondents allowed. Ministry of Health’s SoP for offices brought into court’s notice. BMRCL to clarify if Aarogya Setu is mandatory for metro commuters. https://sflc.in/karnataka-high-court-allows-amendment-petition-aarogya-…
5. 03.08.2020MoHFW revises it SoP. The AAI’s state-wise quarantine guidelines brought to courts notice. They make installation of Aarogya Setu mandatory. AAI seeks time to file response. Court states that once GoI takes clear stance on Aarogya Setu, prayers IIIA and IIIB will be worked out.https://sflc.in/karnataka-high-court-orders-state-karnataka-clarify-its…
6. 13.08.2020Adjourned. 
7. 19.08.2020AAI modifies it statewise quarantine guidelines. An intervention application has been filed which the Court dismisses. https://sflc.in/aarogya-setu-optional-air-passengers-airport-authority-…
8. 03.09.2020Amendments to the petition allowed. 
9. 16.09.2020Adjourned. 
10.22.09.2020Response to be filed by respondents on mandatory-voluntary nature of Aarogya Setu to work out interim relief prayers II and III. https://sflc.in/update-anivar-aravind-v-ministry-home-affairs-gm-pil-wp…;
11.05.10.2020Adjourned as the counsels for respondents seek time to file statement of objections. 
12. 19.09.2020Counsels for Union of India again seek adjournment for filing statement of objections. The Karnataka High Court orders that the State cannot refuse services or benefits to any citizen who does not have Aarogya Setu. 

Also read our coverage of the matter here:

1. Aarogya Setu is optional for air passengers, Airport Authority of India informs Karnataka High Court

2. Karnataka High Court orders the State of Karnataka to clarify its stance on Aarogya Setu

3. Karnataka High Court allows amendment of petition in Aarogya Setu case: Update on petition challenging Aarogya Setu's voluntary-mandatory nature and lack of a specific legislation

4. Aarogya Setu is not mandatory for air or rail travel

5. Petition Challenging the de-facto imposition of Aarogya Setu in Karnataka High Court

[pdfjs-viewer viewer_width=0 viewer_height=800 url=undefined download=true print=true fullscreen=true fullscreen_target=false fullscreen_text="View%20Fullscreen" zoom=auto ]

All Posts | Oct 07,2020

Science American Debate on Global Warming

The Science American discussion Team was formed in 1970 from James M. Inhofe to examine the notions of local climate modification.

It is hosted by James Inhofe and includes well known experts from all over the Earth, including several Nobel laureates. Additionally, it aims to show the science behind the claims which global warming is man-made and also not simply an all natural happening.

There Are Assorted teams involved with the Science American Debate Team, including the Worldwide Heating Skeptics, Global Warming Alarmist Workforce along with the International Warming Alarmist Group. All of different views on global warming and the effects and causes of it.

The worldwide Heating Alarmist staff consists of various scientists that are well-known. They include Roger Pielke Jr., Judith Curry, William Collins, Naomi Oreskes, William Briggs, Lennart Bengtsson, Roger Pielke Sr. along with Richard Lindzen. These scientists have all made similar statements about global warming. Their remarks on the issue are conflicting.

The international Heating Alarmist crew believes there is signs of global warming. According to these, the Earth is getting warmer and that this warming will create changes in the sport. Several of those predictions include things like improving sea levels, increasing the frequency of both hurricanes and more.

Another member of the International Heating Alarmist Team, Tom Harris, Insists the Planet Earth is warming. He considers it is caused by human actions, such as fossil fuel burning. In addition, he believes that there are specific compounds that are released in to the atmosphere due to human actions, which induce the earth to heat.

James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma believes that global warming is just a hoax. He states that there is no evidence that people are causing the warming of the planet. He also believes there are natural cycles that affect the temperature of the planet, also it doesn't affect the all-natural cycles. His opinion on the subject is not supported by any scientific truth, but he depends upon his very own personal impression and beliefs.

The worldwide Warming Alarmist Team does not feel that James M. Inhofe's hypothesis that global warming is currently man-made. Inhofe does not feel that he is able to prove or disprove the hypothesis, but rather makes use of https://www.iamnotthebabysitter.com/is-family-at-the-core-of-education/ their own faith and concepts regarding the cause of the international warming, along with his private observations to confirm his claims.

Global Warming Alarmist Group Can Be a https://asianmoviepulse.com/2020/07/everything-you-need-to-know-about-asian-cinema-education/ part of Science American Debate. This group Was Made by James M. Inhofe and comprises the Subsequent: Roger Pielke Jr., Judith Curry, William Briggs, Naomi Oreskes, William Collins, Lennart Bengtsson, Roger Pielke Sr. along with Richard Lindzen.

Science American Debater is a organization that enables visitors to participate in arguments regarding the topics of science and also the surroundings. This organization takes a broad range of candidates and topics from different areas. They acknowledge questions in researchers, teachers, environmental activists and other interested parties. There are likewise a large number of pros that bring about this Science American Debater blog.

Science American Debater is really a respected company, each about the scientific side of the conversation, and also the political side. They really do a whole lot of function in education and research. They have been one of the Primary sponsors of this March https://kiev.vgorode.ua/news/sobytyia/a1125643-bakalavriat-za-hranitsej-pljusy-minusy-i-podhotovka-k-postupleniju for Science. They have been also a host of the international Heating Alarmist staff, an organization that asserts that there is no scientific evidence that humans are causing global warming.

Science American Debater has a reputation for offering fair arguments and presenting wide array of inquiries and thoughts to get debate. They also offer you an after show chat-room.

It seems that James M. Inhofe and Tom Harris are on an identical page once it regards global warming. Both of them believe there is an issue with global warming, and so they are both on an identical page with their particular beliefs. Both men believe it is manufactured. Although James M. Inhofe states that people are a big cause, Tom Harris thinks that organic bicycles are to blame.

1 thing that https://delo.ua/business/tak-breksitu-ce-kategorichne-ni-programam-366677/ is evident is the fact that both adult males usually do not take what exactly is educated within mainstream science concerning how our planet operates. They both believe that we have https://armchairarcade.com/perspectives/2020/02/12/implications-of-digital-technology-for-education-system/ a lot more than one way of visiting the Earth. This means that there may be a lot more than one of the ways for unique people to observe that the Earth, and the sky and what .

All Posts | Oct 05,2020

SFLC.in writes to the Criminal Reforms Committee

SFLC.in sent its recommendations to the Criminal Reforms Committee on 16th September 2020. Our recommendations covered criminal sanctions against free speech offences mainly Sedition(Section 124-A of Indian Penal Code) and Criminal Defamation(Section 499 and 500 of IPC).

We believe that our laws on sedition and criminal defamation in their current form are causing chilling effect on free speech. The essence of democracy lies in dissent and it is important that our legal jurisprudence doesn't penalize citizens for practicing free speech.

Our recommendations to the committee focus on keeping minimum restrictions against free speech. SFLC.in sincerely hopes that these recommendations are taken into consideration by the committe

[pdfjs-viewer viewer_width=0 viewer_height=800 url=undefined download=true print=true fullscreen=true fullscreen_target=false fullscreen_text="View%20Fullscreen" zoom=auto ]