The Supreme Court has set the tone on the momentous question of the citizens’ fundamental right to privacy with its judgment on the K.S. Puttaswamy case. As we grasp the details and the contours of the right, we are also acutely aware of the speed with which society is being changed by digital technology. The rush to “cashless India”, the spread of smartphones throughout society increasing the extent to which we are tracked, profiled, aggregated and predicted by the networks that used to just ring the telephone numbers we dialed are just two examples. Whatever “privacy” used to mean, it is clear to all of us, as it was to the justices in the Supreme Court that the problems collected under that rubric are changing very rapidly.
Mishi Choudhary, legal director of New Delhi-based Software Freedom Law Center, says companies should be working with other stakeholders for effective information exchange and have a shared database for violent terrorist imagery, or recruitment videos and images, which have been found by their respective services. In this backdrop, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have committed to establishing an international forum to share and develop technology to support smaller companies in a joint effort to tackle terrorism online.
Over the final weekend of October 2017, some of the world's smartest digital rights advocates will come together in London for the eighth MozFest, a gathering where people explore the intersection of the web with civil society, journalism, public policy, and art. Among the headlined speakers are three IFEX members: Mishi Choudhary, Legal Director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) in India, Nighat Dad, Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in Pakistan, and Gisela Pérez de Acha, Public Policy Manager for Latin America at Derechos Digitales.
"India is woefully under-prepared to address issues of data protection and cyber-security. We need a data protection law that protects citizens from misuse of data by the government and companies with strict liability and extremely high statutory damages that must be awarded within a strict period of time," noted Mishi Choudhary, President and Legal Director of New Delhi-based Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC.in), a non-profit setup.
Patents Office rolls back guidelines allowing patenting for software, hailed as victory for startups
"The legislature by limiting the scope of patentable subject matter in the field of software wanted our software professionals and industry to innovate and not be stifled by companies holding a stockpile of patents," said Prasanth Sugathan, counsel at Software Freedom Law Centre India, which was one of the front runners in the consultations.
Prasanth Sugathan, counsel, at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), a non-profit organisation, told The Hindu
The implication of these guidelines is that start-ups and software developers will continue to have the freedom to innovate without worrying about litigation in this area and infringement notices. Ambiguous guidelines, like those published in August last year, would have resulted in a patent minefield like in the U.S.
While TRAI mandated on Monday that anything on the Internet cannot be discriminatorily priced on the basis of content, source and application, some experts said it left the door open for possible misuse through the exception that says "regulation shall not apply to tariffs for data services over closed electronic communication networks."
"Telecom operators should not be allowed to use this loophole to promote their service," said Prasanth Sugathan, counsel at Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) in New Delhi.