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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

Statement about SC judgment on Internet Shutdown in Kashmir

Statement about SC judgment on Internet Shutdown in Kashmir SFLC.in welcomes the judgment pronounced today by the Supreme Court in Anuradha Bhasin v Union Of India(W.P(C) no. 1031 of 2019) wherein the Court has directed that shutdown orders must adhere to the principle of proportionality and must be temporary in nature. SFLC.in maintains the only […]

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Kerala High Court Declares ‘Right to Access Internet’ as a Fundamental Right

Kerala High Court Declares ‘Right to Access Internet’ as a Fundamental Right The Kerala High Court in a monumental decision has held ‘Right to Internet Access’ as a fundamental right. The Court declared that the right to have access to Internet becomes the part of right to education as well as right to privacy under […]

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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 […]

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Comments on draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016

On May 4, 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs published the draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, seeking to regulate the acquisition, dissemination, publication and distribution of geospatial information of India that is likely to raise security concerns. Comments on the Bill were invited from stakeholders, in pursuance of which we submitted our own set […]

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Opening Keynote at re:publica2016 by Mishi Choudhary and Eben Moglen

The last kilometer, the last chance During the period from 2016 – 2025, the “other half” of the human race will be connected to the Net. Providing connection to the world’s poor is the greatest act of social justice, educational opportunity and economic equalization within our power.

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SFLC.in’s comments on the draft outcome document of the WSIS+10 review

The draft outcome document of the “United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society” scheduled for 15-16 December 2015 was published and opened for comments on 4th November. The document, containing 10-year reviews of the implementation of WSIS mandates […]

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Government’s stand on internet governance draws applause from civil society organisations

India’s decision to support the multistakeholdermodel of internet governance has drawn mostly applause from civil society organisations and individuals who have been following the issue, even as they cautioned that implementation will determine the success of the model. A day after communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said India will support the multistakeholder model, […]

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Airtel calls it ‘standard solution’, but experts say spy code breach of privacy

Airtel seems to be doing some serious firefighting after being accused of “spying” by Bengaluru-based programmer Thejesh GN. Airtel seems to be doing some serious firefighting after being accused of “spying” by Bengaluru-based programmer Thejesh GN. The company has accepted that it did inject a javascript into subscribers’ browsing sessions, a “standard solution” to help […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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India’s surveillance state: Other provisions of law that enable collection of user information

While Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act and Sections 69 and 69B of the Information Technology Act (IT Act) collectively set the stage for direct surveillance of India’s telephone and Internet networks, more provisions of the IT Act allow indirect surveillance i.e. they allow the Central/State Governments and their agents such as the Controller of […]

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Supreme Court hearing on IT Act petitions

This post attempts to summarise the proceedings before the Apex Court where all the petitions challenging various provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Rules thereunder are being heard(list of all the petitions here). The petitions were initially heard by a bench of Justice J.Chelameswar and Justice S.A. Bobde and are now listed before […]

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Events

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. […]