TechLaw Symposium at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad – Press Note

[Ed Note : The following press note has been authored by Shweta Rao and Arvind Pennathur from NALSAR University of Law. Do watch  this space for more details on the symposium!}

On the 9th of September NALSAR University of Law’s Tech Law Forum conducted its first ever symposium with packed panels discussing a variety of issues under the broad theme of the Right to Privacy. This symposium took place against the backdrop of the recent draft Data Protection Bill and Report released by the Srikrishna Committee.

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Mr. Shailesh Gandhi on Privacy

[Ed Note : The following is a guest post by Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner under the framework of the RTI Act 2005, who has graciously agreed to express his views through this platform]

First Define ‘Privacy’

The problem with the nine-judge ruling is that after proclaiming privacy as a fundamental right, it has not defined what is privacy. It is now left to all adjudicators to give multiple interpretations in order to understand the term, writes Shailesh Gandhi.

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Fake News and Its Follies

fake-news

Fake news may seem to be very innocuous and in fact might not seem to cause much harm to anyone or have any real-world consequences. Fake news is a phenomenon where a few individuals, sites and online portals create or/and share pieces of information either completely false or cherry-picked from real incidents with the intention to mislead the general public or gain publicity. We all have at least once received a message on WhatsApp groups or on Twitter or on Facebook saying things like – Jana Gana Mana received ‘best national anthem’ award from UNESCO, or that the new Rs 2000 notes have a GPS enabled chip, or that Narendra Modi has been selected as the Best PM in the world by UNESCO. These apparently harmless rumours have done little more than made Twitter trolls target unsuspecting individuals, sometimes even well-known people.

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A Victory, and Moving Forward – TRAI Consultations on OTTs

Last week, the Supreme Court of India in its judgment in the case of Shreya Singhal and Ors. v Union of India has decreed S. 66A of the Information Technology Act unconstitutional in its entirety, and at the same drastically restricted the ambit of Ss. 69A and 79 by reading into them the jurisprudence of Art. 19(1) (a) and 19(2). It has at the same time struck down the notice-and-takedown regime, replacing it with a system with more oversight, as we will see in following posts.

We will shortly be coming out with separate, detailed posts on each of the separate dimensions of the judgement, including but not restricted to the Free Speech issues, the Intermediary Liability issues, and the Website blocking concerns. But before we start on to that, a short word of caution.

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Facebook, 'Internet.org' and the Ignored Questions of Civil Liberties

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/4W8mW)

 Earlier yesterday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg met with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad (who curiously also holds the Ministry of Law and Justice portfolio). The Facebook CEO was in New Delhi on the 9th and 10th of October for the Internet.org summit.

It is not a surprise that much of Zuckerberg’s visit focused on the topic of ‘Internet.org’, which is a not-for-profit partnership set up last year by Facebook along with mobile phone technology providers Ericsson, Mediatek, Opera Software, Samsung, Nokia, and Qualcomm which aims to bring affordable Internet access to everyone. In fact, the most quoted part from his visit seems to be his statement that “Internet connectivity can be now considered as a human right”. And there are actually multiple quotes and articles on this issue. Unlike Vadodara, Zuckerberg’s visit has been covered in mainstream media. But an actual scrutiny of the issues raised therein and their consequences seems to be lacking.

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