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2020: Jan-March

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Shooter...

Indian movie banned in Punjab and Haryana


Link Here26th February 2020

Shooter is a 2020 India action film by Inderjit Singh
Starring Jayy Randhawa. BBFC link IMDb

Following in the steps of the Indian state of Punjab, the Haryana state government has imposed a ban on the screening of the Punjabi movie Shooter- based on the life and crimes of notorious gangster Sukha Kahlwan.

As per the order issued by Vijai Vardhan, additional chief secretary (home), the suspension of screening/exhibition of the movie in the state shall remain in force for two months.

Filmmaker Kewal Singh has filed a petition within the High Court stating that the Punjab authorities has banned its launch on February 10 with out seeing the movie. The movie has not but been issued a certificates by the censor board and neither has the movie been seen. T

Earlier the Punjab authorities banned this movie claiming that the movie is selling violence, crime and gang tradition, which may promote crime in Punjab.

In the UK the film was passed 15 uncut for strong bloody violence, brief drug misuse.

 

 

Harming the internet...

Pakistan's cabinet approves local version of Online Harms Bill


Link Here15th February 2020
The Pakistan government should immediately roll back a set of social media censorship measures that were passed in secret, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said..

On January 28, the federal cabinet approved the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020, a set of regulations on social media content, without public consultation; the measures were enacted in secret.

A copy of the regulations, which was leaked online, shows that the rules empower the government to fine or ban social media platforms over their users' content. The regulations provide for a National Coordinator to be appointed within the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications responsible for enforcing the rules.

Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, said:

These stringent but vague rules approved by Pakistan's federal cabinet threaten the ability of journalists to report the news and communicate with their sources. The cabinet should immediately reverse course and seek broad consultations with legislators and civil society, including the media, on how to proceed with any such regulations.

Social media companies are required to remove content deemed objectionable by the National Coordinator within 24 hours, and to provide to the regulator decrypted content and any other information about users on demand. The companies are also made responsible for preventing the live streaming of any content related to terrorism, extremism, hate speech, defamation, fake news, incitement to violence and national security.

If a service is does not comply, the National Coordinator is granted the power to block services and levy fines of up to 500 million rupees ($3.24 million).

 

 

What do we know about the Great Firewall of India?...

Broadband services will be restored after creation of social-media firewall


Link Here11th February 2020

After five months of complete internet shutdown in the federally-administered Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, only partial internet access has been restored after the interference of the Indian Supreme Court on January 10, which called the shutdown unconstitutional. Freedom of internet access is a fundamental right , said Justice N. V. Ramana who was a part of the bench that gave this verdict.

This shutdown marks the longest ever internet shutdown in any democracy around the world, and is viewed by experts as a potential signal of the rise of the Great Firewall of India . The term great firewall is used to refer to the set of legislative and technical tools deployed by the Chinese government to control information online, including by blocking access to foreign services and preventing politically sensitive content from entering the domestic network.

While the Chinese firewall has evolved as a very sophisticated internet censorship infrastructure, the Indian one is yet to get organized into a large-scale and complex structure. India's tactics to control information online include banning entire websites and services, shutting down networks and pressuring social media content to remove content on vague grounds. Read More: India partially lifts communications blackout in Kashmir, internet still down 301 websites whitelisted

According to internetshutdowns.in , a project that is tracking internet shutdowns in India and created by legal nonprofit Software Freedom Law Centre , the shutdown that was imposed on August 4, 2019, has been the longest in the country and was only partially lifted in Kargil on December 27, 2019, while the rest of the state was still under the shutdown.

Landlines and mobile communications services were also blocked in addition to regular internet services. Although the verified users of the Kashmir valley saw 2G services working on January 25, 2020 with access to only 301 white-listed websites (153 initially which was later expanded to 301), social media, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and many other sites remain banned.

The administration of J&K passed an order on 25th January ordering for the restoration of 2G internet for around 300 whitelisted websites.

The Logical Indian reported on January 30, 2020, that broadband services in Kashmir will be be restored only after the creation of an alleged social media firewall. It is currently unclear whether these restrictions will only be imposed in Kashmir or in other areas of India as well.

Nazir Ahmad Joo, General Manager of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a public mobile and broadband carrier, told the digital news platform that his company is working on a developing a firewall:

We have called a team of technical experts from Noida and Banglore who are working over creating a firewall to thwart any attempt by the consumers to reach to the social media applications[..]

Internet Service Providers like mobile internet carriers were asked by the government to install necessary firewalls while white-listing the list of allowed websites in an order dated January 13, 2020.

In the meantime, the partial shutdown continues in Kashmir despite the Supreme Court's verdict of January 10. Ironically, the order from the Jammu and Kashmir home department mentioned above was imposed a day after the Court ruling.

 

 

Censorship and ethics...

An extensive list of internet censorship measures has been proposed in an Indian parliamentary report


Link Here3rd February 2020
The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Indian parliament. Its Ethics Committee has just published an extensive list of internet censorship measures in the name of curbing online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The Committee has recommended that law enforcement agencies be permitted to break end-to-end encryption, and that ISPs provide parents with website blocking services.

The ad hoc Committee, headed by Jairam Ramesh, made 40 recommendations in its report pubished on January 25.

Recommendations:
  • Amend the Information Technology Act, 2000:
    • Make intermediaries responsible for proactively identifying and removing CSAM, and for reporting it to Indian and foreign authorities, and for reporting, to the designated authority, the IP address/identities of people who search for or access child porn and CSAM
    • Make gateway ISPs liable so that they can detect and block CSAM websites.
    • Prescribe punitive measures for those who give pornographic access to children and those who access, produce or transmit CSAM.
    • Allow Central Government through "its designated authority" to block and/or prohibit all websites/intermediaries that carry CSAM . The designated authority has not been specified.
  • Allow law enforcement to break end-to-end encryption to trace distributors of child pornography.
  • Mandate CSAM detection for all social media companies through minimum essential technologies to detect CSAM besides reporting it to law enforcement agencies.
  • Separate adult content section on streaming platforms like Netflix and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook where children are not allowed.
  • Age verification and gating mechanisms on social media to restrict access to "objectionable/obscene material".
  • Manage children's access to internet: To do that, make apps that monitor children's access to porn mandatory on all devices in India, and make such apps/solutions freely available to ISPs, companies, schools and parents. Also, ISPs should provide family-friendly filters to parents to regulate children's access to internet.
  • Use blockchain to trace buyers of child porn: MeitY should coordinate with blockchain analysis companies to trace users who use cryptocurrencies to purchase child porn online.
  • Ban all payments to porn websites: Online payment portals and credit cards be prohibited from processing payments for any pornographic website.
  • Amend the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012:
    • Prescribe a Code of Conduct for intermediaries (online platforms) to maintain child safety online, ensure age appropriate content, and curb use of children for pornographic purposes.
    • Make "advocating or counseling" sexual activities with a minor through written material, visual media, audio recording, or any other means, an offence under the Act.
    • Make school management responsible for safety of children within schools, transportation services and any other programmers with which the school is associated.
    • Make National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal the national portal for all report related to electronic material.
  • Make National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) the nodal agency to deal with the issue. It should have "necessary" technological, cyber policing and prosecution capabilities. Each state and UT should also have a Commission for the Protection for Child Rights that mirrors NCPCR.
  • Appoint e-safety commissioners at state level to ensure implementation of social media and website guidelines.
  • National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) must record and report cases of child pornography of all kinds annually. Readers should note that the last annual report from NCRB was for 2017 and was released in October 2019.
  • National Tipline Number where citizens can report about child sexual abuse and distribution of CSAM.
  • Awareness campaigns by Ministries of Women and Child Development, and Information and Broadcasting on recognising signs of child abuse, online risks and improving online safety. Schools should also conduct training programmes for parents at least twice a year.

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