Privacy is a two edged sword. If you allow it unfettered on the modern platforms, and refrain from using any tool from “monitoring” the activity, then you can miss out on pre-empting terrorists. But if the agency which implements the monitoring system is unscrupulous, then it can use it to target its opponents and groups that can be politically embarrassing. That doesn’t help the citizenry at large.
Recently, there was a big hue and cry on the services by blackberry in India. The Indian government used the reason for monitoring the terrorists to make the company (RIM) to finally agree to let the Government to access e-mail and data sent using BlackBerry’s network.
Now, the Indian Government wants to go a step further and track the conversations on Google’s video chat service and Skype. In these days, where terrorists are trying every which way to harm someone out there, it is imperative that the Government gets to keep a tab on everything.
But, the question is – is the Government serious? Or can the incumbent party use such a privilege to hit on political opponents?
The way this particular Government has gone on in the recent months and used the investigative agencies, it is clear that these agencies were used several times to settle personal and political scores. In such a scenario, is it worth giving the power of monitoring everything to the Government?
This is a question that the citizens and the corporations in the country need to ponder on. If such a regime should be installed, then there should be adequate checkpoints to make sure there the monitoring is absolutely required. Somewhere, the agencies need to have a better framework for independence.
But, then the political opponents will say – well, the Congress party has been misusing the agencies for last 60 years unabashedly, why should be let that opportunity go by when we get to the power?
Which is a fair argument. But somewhere the mess has to stop. Who will take that action and when it will happen is something to be seen
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