Hacker group Anonymous has hacked the website of India’s minister of Information and Technology Kapil Sibal. On Friday, the group got into his site and hacked the “constituency” page, replacing it with a photograph portraying him as someone who considers freedom harmful to the growth of the country.
In India, a major debate between politicians, people on the internet and the public is taking place as the government looks to regulate the Internet. Yesterday, the central government under pressure, issued guidelines that could bring down the misuse of the Information Technology act which was being used to make arrests.
Recent incidents of misuse of the Section 66 (A) of the IT act, include arbitrary police action on youngsters for posting comments on social networking sites.
The section deals with punishment for offensive messages online. Critics say that its too loosely defined. It gives powers for law enforcement agencies to register complaints on ‘grossly offensive or menacing’ statements, ‘false information, or information causing annoyance, insult, danger, inconvenience, deceiving, or misleading.’ These phrases are too loosely defined and threaten to stifle freedom of expression on the Internet.
Last week, two women in Mumbai were arrested by the police for protesting a statewide bandh on Facebook. Earlier, two Air India employees was arrested earlier after a police stormed his house in the middle of the night for sharing allegedly “lewd” comments on Facebook. Most cases were charged under the Section 66 (A) of the IT act.
Kapil Sibal’s move to regulate internet content earlier was met with strong criticism across the web. It was widely reported that the minister was talking to large companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to put prescreening mechanisms in place to filter out user generated content.
This amounts to censorship and is also not easy to do. Soon, the minister backtracked and said that the government has no intentions to censor the web.