Is it possible for a person to enjoy freedom under a government?
One of the most prominent leader and apostle of peace and non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi answered this question in an elaborated manner when he said,
“Government control gives rise to fraud, suppression of Truth, intensification of the black market and artificial scarcity. Above all, it unmans the people and deprives them of initiative, it undoes the teaching of self-help…I look upon an increase in the power of the State with the greatest fear because, although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality which lies at the heart of all progress…1 ”
The government is meant to rule, control, exploit and dominate common individuals and government achieves this purpose of governing individuals by disallowing basic fundamental freedom for the citizens.
Indian government recently ordered the department of telecom (DoT) to ensure proper screening of Twitter and Facebook users from India2 . The Home ministry wants to “ensure effective monitoring of Twitter and Facebook.” It is difficult to understand the actual meaning of ‘effective monitoring’ especially when it is politically motivated.
We common citizens of India certainly cannot trust the government that it will let us live without the fear of being watched by the big brothers. On the other hand, government will suggest that all which is happening is actually to help us, to protect us and to maintain peace and law.
Indian government is certainly worried about the potential of freedom of speech and the strength that the internet has provided for the common citizen. Now when social networking has increased the potential of common men to express themselves freely and safely, their safety and privacy has been arrested.
According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs of India (MHA) is asking for complete surveillance which means that not only does the government will have information about your tweets on Twitter and Wall posts on Facebook that are in public domain, the government will also be keeping an eye over your personal content that you will share with your friends, family members, business associates or your love interests3. The government will be checking each word you post on a social network and will watch every of your photo irrespective of how private it is because for government, right to privacy is only for politicians, government officials and rulers of this country. Beware girls, don’t upload any picture on Facebook, Twitter or Orkut profile because the government can hack your private photos.
Is it Legal?
Right to privacy is a fundamental individual right which must be protected. As a matter of fact, civilization is based on the principle of privacy.
Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. ‘Ayn Rand.’
The Indian Constitution doesn’t commemorate the right to privacy in a direct manner. However, the Supreme Court established the right to privacy and it’s important during the case of Kharak Singh Vs State of UP. The Supreme Court of India stated that the Article 21 which deals with Personal Freedom (Protection of life and personal liberty) was broad enough to cover privacy as well. The two justices said that
Nothing is more deleterious to a man’s physical happiness and health, than a calculated interference with his privacy.
In another important case in 1993 (R. Rajagopal vs State of Tamil Nadu), the Supreme Court of India firmly established the right to privacy and the Justice of Supreme Court stated,
The right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21. It is a “right to be let alone.
The right to privacy is well mentioned in India and it is heavily embedded in the legal platform of India. However, Indian society is still not as much evolved as to demand and defend their privacy. Indians often don’t take their privacy very seriously and this is the result why Indian Government succeeded in promoting a plan to rob the privacy of every Indian netizen who is able enough to use internet social communities.
Why Does Government Want to Keep an Eye of Our Private Affairs?
The strength of messages and symbols is well known. The symbols of “Kamal” (Lotus) and “Roti” (Bread) became the instant messages to gather people against the British Raj in 1857 during the Gadar. However, the internet has increased the strength of common people to a much higher level. The current revolution in countries like Egypt and Libya were highly influenced by the netizens who used Facebook and Twitter to express their anger against the corrupt and tyrannical governments. The people of Great Britain are also using Twitter and Facebook against the government.
Indian government is already suffering huge revolution against its corrupt regime and hence the Indian politicians want to make it sure that Indian people may not achieve any vital tool to bring about a revolution against tyranny, corruption, exploitative administration and brutality of Indian government. Yesterday, four farmers were killed by the Indian police at Pune in Maharashtra. On fourth of June 2011, Delhi Police attacked peaceful protesters at Ramleela Maidan and tried to nab Swami Ramdev4 who fled from the scene to save his life. The Civil Society India Against Corruption has announced its plan to protest government over corruption and Lokpal Bill from 16th of August and Anna Hajare has expressed his strong opposition to the corrupt governance. One can say that Indian government is virtually implementing state of Emergency.
Obviously, government is acting rude and it wants to ensure that the rudeness and violence of government may not instigate people and hence the government has planned to virtually imprison every Indian under its surveillance.
Are we Criminals?
Government will now keep us under tight surveillance and soon it will be checking each email, tweet, wall post, personal message, blog post or any other activity that we perform on internet. Obviously, government believes that we are not worthy of the right to liberty and pursuit of happiness and we must remain under surveillance as if we are criminals and we may instigate crimes or violence.
However, government always fails to protect Indian citizens against the real criminals and terrorists. Not a single clue is available about the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on 13th of July5 this year. Obviously, government is busy in controlling exploiting and dominating us honest, peaceful and exploited common people. We can’t expect any safety or protection from this government against terrorism because basically, the biggest threat for an honest individual is the government, the ruling power.