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Defender of your Digital Freedom

Across the world, it is seen that more and more restrictions are being imposed on civil liberties of citizens on the internet. Sflc.in aims to protect the interests of Internet users and content creators like bloggers. The Freedom in the Net project aims to understand the problems of internet users across nations and plans to take concrete actions including litigation to protect the digital freedom of citizens.

The major focus of the project has been to work with parliamentarians, industry and civil society to push for modifying the guidelines issued by the Government in the form of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. The Central Government has on 11th April 2011, notified the new rules prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all intermediaries. The rules cast an obligation on the intermediaries to remove access to any content on receiving a complaint from an affected person that it falls under the category of a wide, vague list of “unlawful” content specified in the rules. This vague list includes content considered as ‘blasphemous’, ‘libellous’, ‘grossly harmful’, ‘harassing’, or ‘disparaging’.

While the need for a set of rules governing the rights, duties and obligations of an Intermediary is unquestioned, the rules as presently notified are arguably unconstitutional, arbitrary and vague and could pose a serious threat not only to the business of various Intermediaries in the country but also to the public at large who may face increased instances of censorship and invasion of privacy. The rules clearly exceed the scope of the parent Information Technology Act and in fact, overlap in some areas leading to a lack of clarity on their application.

A free and open internet is an essential component in ensuring a participatory democracy and Sflc.in strives to engage with various stakeholders in protecting the interests of netizens and in enabling a free discourse.

Posts

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 […]

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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 […]

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Representation sent to Government of Rajasthan to publish orders regarding suspension of Internet services.

SFLC.in wrote to the Home Secretary, Government of Rajasthan as well the District Collectors of Udaipur, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh and Banswara asking them to publish orders regarding the suspension of Internet services in the said districts. Internet services have suspended in these 4 districts since Saturday, 26th September 2020 following violent protests. SFLC.in hasn’t been able […]

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Letter to the Standing Committee on Information Technology on Content Moderation by Social Media Platforms

SFLC.in has written to the Standing Committee on Information Technology chaired by Dr. Shashi Tharoor on the Content Moderation policies of Social Media platforms. The letter was written in light of the recent allegations that have come forward against social media platform Facebook regarding selectively moderating hate speech in favor of the ruling party on its platform. The Wall Street […]

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Report from the panel discussion on “Reconciling State’s Interest With a Digital Life”

Report from the panel discussion on “Reconciling State’s Interest With a Digital Life” Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC.in) in collaboration with Live Law hosted a panel on August 4, 2020 to commemorate a year of communication blockade in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The panel on “Reconciling State’s interest with a digital life” […]

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Roundtable on Encryption, September 3rd, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

Roundtable on Encryption, September 3rd, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM On September 3rd, 2020, Software Freedom Law Centre, India (SFLC.in) organized a multi-stakeholder round-table discussion to “Individual Liberty vs. National Security” debate, and to address the concerns arising from conflicting encryption regulations across the world through the lens of members of civil society, journalists, technologists and lawmakers.The […]

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Collective statement to urge the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to restore High-Speed internet.

SFLC.IN along with a coalition of non-profit organisations and civil society groups voice their concerns urging the Jammu and Kashmir Government to restore high speed internet access in the region. The statement also requests the government to ensure stable and secure communication services in the Union Territory. A letter was sent to the Jammu and Kashmir […]

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SFLC.in sent a representation to the IT standing committee

SFLC.in had written to all the members of the IT committee chaired by Dr. Shashi Tharoor on 8th June 2020 highlighting the menace of Internet shutdowns. Our letter highligted the adverse impact of Internet shutdowns on citizens of the country. The letter also reinstated the plight of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir as the region […]

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Event – Reconciling State’s interests with a digital life

SFLC.in in collaboration with Live Law is hosting a panel to commemorate an entire year of communication block in The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This panel will be taking place virtually on the evening of 4th August 2020. The panel will be discussing internet shutdowns vis a vis national security, misinformation, censorship, content […]

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Analysis of the recent app blocking

MEITY on 29th June 2020 blocked 59 apps using Section 69A of the Information Technology Act coupled with the Blocking Rules of 2009. (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public). Among the blocked apps were apps like Tik Tok, UC Browser  and Cam scanner which are widely popular in the Indian market. The reason stated for […]

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Letter to the special committee to offer assistance in Jammu and Kashmir for restoring 4G Internet

SFLC.in wrote a letter to the special committee formed by the Supreme Court in Foundation of Media Professionals V. Union of India offering our assistance to the committee. On 11th May 2020, the Supreme Court had ordered that a special committee has to be formed comprising of The Home Secretary to the Government of India, The Communications […]

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SFLC.in moves to Calcutta High Court challenging Internet Shutdown in Hoogli District

On 12th May 2020, without any advance notice to the citizens, Internet services were cut off in some parts of Hoogli district in West Bengal, following communal riots. From the information that was received by SFLC.in, it was found that the internet had been suspended using Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The legally prescribed manner of imposing an internet shutdown is through the procedure laid […]

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Events

Roundtable on Encryption, September 3rd, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM

Roundtable on Encryption, September 3rd, 5:00 PM-6:30 PM On September 3rd, 2020, Software Freedom Law Centre, India (SFLC.in) organized a multi-stakeholder round-table discussion to “Individual Liberty vs. National Security” debate, and to address the concerns arising from conflicting encryption regulations across the world through the lens of members of civil society, journalists, technologists and lawmakers.The […]

Event – Reconciling State’s interests with a digital life

SFLC.in in collaboration with Live Law is hosting a panel to commemorate an entire year of communication block in The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This panel will be taking place virtually on the evening of 4th August 2020. The panel will be discussing internet shutdowns vis a vis national security, misinformation, censorship, content […]

Roundtable: Identifying and Limiting Hate Speech and Harassment Online

The advances made possible by the advent of the Internet have impacted the notion of free speech in a great many ways. Online intermediary platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google enable individuals to be active publishers of information in addition to passive recipients. The possibility for anonymity that comes with the Internet adds further […]

Rightscon Southeast Asia conference

Mr. Prasanth Sugathan, Counsel, SFLC.in will be speaking at RighstCon Southeast Asia conference from March 24-25, 2015 at Manila, Philippines. RightsCon is the premier summit series bringing together civil society, engineers, activists, lawyers, companies, and governments on the subject of the internet and human rights. The objective of this conference to bring together thought leaders, […]

CONNECTing the Dots: Options for Future Action

Ms. Mishi Choudhary will be speaking at an international multistakeholder conference on Internet-related issues organized by UNESCO in France, Paris from March 3-4, 2015. This event is expected to have participants from governments, civil society, academia, private sector, the technical community, inter-governmental and international organizations as well as noted thought leaders, innovators and pioneers in […]

Internet Governance Forum Annual Meeting

The ninth annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be held from 2nd to 5th September, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. The overarching theme for the 2014 meeting is: “Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance“. Formally established in 2006 as mandated by the World Summit on the IGF is a multi-stakeholder forum for […]

Report on IT Rules

Report On IT (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 SFLC.in would be releasing a report titled, “Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 – An Analysis” on Thursday, July 24, 2014. The report will be released jointly by Members of Parliament Sh. Jay Panda, Sh. Jagadambika Pal,Sh. Jayant Choudhary,Sh. P. Rajeeve, Sh. Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Sh. Arvind Gupta. […]