Free Software Movement of India welcomes the unanimous ruling of the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court declaring privacy to be a fundamental right under the Constitution.
In a move that can only be seen as regressive, the Government of India has blocked access to the website ‘archive.org’, also called ‘Wayback Machine’. No official reason has been given for this block.
A number of organisations had asked the TRAI to call for a consultations on net neutrality and its violations by the telecom operators. Instead, TRAI has come out with a consultation that promises that henceforth, all services - or at least the ones that compete with the telecom companies - is liable to be licensed.
As repeatedly noted by TRAI in its Consultation Paper, the use of online communication applications encourages the use of the Internet and associated services. This not only drives increased data use and therefore increased revenues for telcos but also meets an evident social need.
We as users of telecom services and members of the Indian tech community, were shocked to learn a few days ago that Airtel was carrying out unsolicited packet injection into all content viewed over its 3G networks.
It was revealed that Airtel was tampering with its user's online communications on its 3G network, and maliciously inserting advertisements into its user's data. This ensured that all users of Airtel's 3G networks were forced to view certain specific advertisements inserted by Airtel, irrespective of the content they chose to view on the Internet. Further, by interfering with the data packets to and from its customers terminals, Airtel has clearly acted in violation of the privacy rights of at least thousands if not millions of Indian citizens and has rendered their online communications unsafe.
The need for the Government to adopt open data standards for storing data and allowing open access was stressed by speakers at the ongoing National Convention of Academics and Research (NCAR-2010) here.
The concept of Free Software, wherein knowledge is created by the community for the community, without being driven by commercial interests, must be extended to research to solve problems in health care, agriculture, energy and safe drinking water, the former President A.P.J.