Censorship to set a blaze on social network

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In the recent past #censorship was big debate on social network; these days many accounts are deactivated or blocked by the social network authorities. In general, censorship in India, which involves the suppression of speech or other public communication, raises issues of freedom of speech, which is protected by the Indian constitution. A classic example of censorship in India is the Central Board of Film Certification or Censor Board, which comes under the purview of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Board regularly orders, directors to remove anything it deems offensive or subjects considered to be politically subversive. The censorship of films is governed by the Cinematograph Act, 1952. It assigns certification as Universal, Adults, and Parental Guidance to films in India before public exhibition.

Censorship has become a weapon in the hands of the State to make people agree with its ideology. Now is the time to look into the role that can be played by healthy criticism, analysis, and cinema literacy, posts, cartoons, blogs or tweets rather than relying on controllers that acts as a moral police, stopping the dissent. Information technology seems to be the latest weapon of waging proxy wars. Countries have borders and restrictions to each other’s jurisdiction, but cyber space has no boundaries. Recent NE exodus was a disastrous moment for Indian citizens and government. With 2-3 online users and couple of hours of editing work, various groups were able to trigger the most massive internal exodus of people in India and nationwide protests. Most of the public, who does this, assume that they do this with a false sense of secrecy.

While Cyber War between India and Pakistan is not new, it was limited to hacking of each other’s websites. Interestingly, this time it may not have been carried out by so called hackers. Since then it was easy to spread hatred than to block websites, the whole episode would have been carried out by 4-5 Social Media addicts. The law is there to prevent this, but enforcement is far from adequate. There are many such instances and evidences that one country rages its anger or one particular religion condemns another religion hurting its sentiments online. The fact that there is proof of some Pakistani organisations uploading obnoxious and provocative stuff on the Internet, leading to the exodus of people of the northeast from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and other cities, shows that some elements from across the border want to knock off balance of our country. To prevent their designs we, people, should defy such provocations. In the wake of the Assam riots, the rest of the country should have stood together to condemn all forms of violence. But we did not do so. It was our prejudice and lack of unity that contributed to the success of the mischief-mongers. To control the situations and stabilise country, government opted for censorship. There is no point in blaming the government. At least the educated should take pains to verify the truth. Pointing a finger at Pakistan will not solve the problem. The crisis has brought the social media to the forefront, relegating the print and electronic media to the background. Perhaps it is one more revolution in the history of mankind. It is clear that people today believe in non-stop, one-to-one communication or conversation, rather than the mass media.

Anyways time being censorship might help controlling situation but this will remain as superficial treatment of the problems that country is facing. Making the people aware of the “cyber threat” is need of an hour but censorship can’t be the exact way out. India really requires proper systems to be adopted in order to be safe or else this might really create big disasters in the future. In the information age we cannot lock our cyberspace because it is among one of the main tool for the sustainable development of the state. But curbing of cyber attack in any form either cyber war or putting illegitimate material on the web has really become necessary around the globe. Though we are having strict policies but still we are not guarding our information web properly and which has caused the NE exodus type events. Technology can be a great rescuer, but can it sometimes be a public menace?

The Indian government has earlier blocked around 250 websites, ordered Google and Facebook to pull content, threatened legal action against Twitter if it doesn’t delete certain accounts, and has arrested several people for sending provocative text messages, all in the name of public safety. Despite the government’s persistence may not be as clear-cut as a case of state domination and over-reach. It turns out that the Indian government might be right to fear that technology, for all the very real benefits it’s brought India, could also be helping to magnify ancient communal tensions in a way that costs lives and, perhaps even worse, might destabilise the delicate social balance within the world’s second-largest country. Technology didn’t cause any of this, of course. But social media and text messaging, both of which are becoming increasingly common in reaches of India’s enormous lower and middle classes, accelerated the flow of rumours and of inflammatory images. The government, unable to counter the destabilising rumours, shut down some of the means of their dispersal. Whether or not the Indian government’s censorship does anything to calm this crisis, their apparent desperation is understandable. Still, India’s willingness to censor the web is part of the government’s longer-running effort to standardise the Internet, to which western governments and web freedom advocates have persistently objected. Some of India’s sweeping restrictions compel web companies like Google and Facebook to self-police, and then self-censor, any content that could be perceived as profane or offensive to ethnic groups. Web freedom activists distinguish this as little more than an excuse for online authoritarianism, and they’re probably often correct. We cannot isolate ourselves from this but can make a safe distance to access genuine information. And parallel system need to strict its security norms so that any state against information and data is not in the reach of common citizen of the country.

Being a person from Cyber Security, I know how much it is simple for us to fool the inexperienced people on internet and then use those resources to do something illegal and improper. There should be a body which will not only work towards security of cyber crime in government and Militant organisation but also work towards enforcement of awareness of cyber crime. It is always better to take precautions. Rapidly increasing two-edged sword, Social media has created a vibrant online community and widened public discourse, allowing a platform for activists with thousand causes. On the flip side, it has also become a vehicle of skewered misinformation. The prospective of an individual using a social networking site in an enigmatic manner is much more in a social networking site than in a social media. There is no procedure for registration and ownership. And so there is no way to pin down the culprits.

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Vaidehi

Group Editor at NBC Pvt. Ltd.
Vaidehi, is an investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical hacker, Philanthropist, Author and an inspiration to many. She is Group Editor of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 4 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi daily tabloid – Mee Mumbaikar, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges, dedicated to IT industry, Indian news to the world and shipping industry, respectively. Besides the business perspective, she is an Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.