NO MASS DEBATES ON ‘SURVEILLANCE REFORM’ HERE

‘Surveillance reform’ is a term worth debating, isn’t it?

The world’s most powerful nation intensely debated it before taking the positive step yesterday.

Under ‘surveillance reform’, the ‘sweeping’ powers to snoop and collect data were curtailed from the mid-night as The Guardian reported.

The Patriot Act, a product of September 11, 2001 attacks, cannot power the National Security Agency anymore to spy on Americans and other citizens elsewhere.

We always knew the overreach of the US security agencies post 9/11. Edward Snowden, thankfully, put it in the public domain two years ago.

But what makes this welcome decision ironical for us, the Indians, is that we have a government that doesn’t see any wrong in a proposal to buy ‘snooping equipment. We are debating if the Delhi government should buy sophisticated spying equipment for its Anti-Corruption Bureau even if the Delhi government brazenly denies doing so. It is refusing the existence of a cabinet note in this regard, a cabinet note that is circulating in media.

Instead of clarifying the Delhi government’s stand, senior Aam Aadmi Party leaders chose to deflect the blame by questioning the Gujarat incident, the snooping scandal, involving Narendra Modi. They don’t care even if Modi has got a clean chit from the Supreme Court in the case.

Ironical is this stand by a party that had once claimed to change the ethos of Indian politics. But, then the AAP is like other political parties now.

Ironical is that there is a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to take the final call that we need ‘net neutrality’ when we should not delay in taking such basic decisions.

We are a large nation; the world’s second most populous, with over 1.25 billion people. We are the world’s largest democracy. We are among the few large economies of the world and we are also the world’s fastest growing economy now.

But we also have the world’s largest share of malnourished and hungry people. Majority of us are still quality illiterate. The basic need of the majority of the humanity here is still limited to food and shelter.

Yes, we have over 930 million mobile connections now but majority of them still don’t care about debates like ‘net neutrality’.

It is yet another irony of this country with high tele-density where ‘smartphones’ are being seen as the tool of the next phase of information revolution.

Majority of people in our country still don’t know or don’t care for what is ‘surveillance reform’ even if it is going to affect their life deeply.

And when people don’t care, because they are unaware of or they cannot care for, it is a field day for policymakers.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/