Yesterday Anonymous, a hacktivist group has staged its first protest across several cities in India. It was protesting against internet censorship by the government and also certain ISPs. Internet censorship has been a hot topic of discussion for a while now but in recent times it has reached a tipping point in India. The Twitter hashtag #OpIndia was used to organize the multi-city protests across the country.
The group takes its inspiration from the movie V for Vendetta where a masked anonymous vigilante launches a political revolution.
Recent instances of online censorship in India
Internet censorship has been a hot topic of discussion over the past few months in India. You might recall a famous (rather infamous) demand by a Minister to have manual screening of all online content put up on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The minister later flip-flopped on the issue saying he wanted some sort of monitoring of content.
There there was the Delhi High Court case against Facebook and Google. It had asked the websites to remove objectionable content or face bans. There were even comparisons drawn to how a system like China needed to be developed. The case still continues on the courts.
Internet Service Provider (ISPs) companies have often been accused of blocking access to websites on an adhoc basis. Popular file sharing websites have routinely been blocked by certain ISP’s who have links to Bollywood studios.
Laws pertaining to Internet usage in India are also a little unclear. For instance apparently certain content which is deemed offensive should be removed within hours. It is impossible to adhere as what exactly constitutes offensive is not defined with explicit clarity.
According to IBN Live some ISPs started to block video and filesharing websites like Vimeo. This was in response to a court order blocking certain links which were infringing copyright laws. The ISPs in question blocked entire domains instead of just those particular links.
Anonymous’ OpIndia hackers retaliated with attacks on websites owned by a political party along with some official government owned.
Interestingly Anonymous posted this tweet after some of online attacks.
Final Thoughts on Anonymous Protests!
Internet freedom is very dear to probably all internet users. Mostly people are unaware, that these freedoms can be restricted. The protests as long as they are peaceful will help in the long run to make people more aware of their internet rights which they might take for granted.
One major challenge for such protests is to keep their focus on internet freedoms and rights rather than come across as groups that support online piracy.
What are your views on Anonymous #OpIndia protests? Did you attend any protest in India? Do drop in views and experiences in your comments.
Image: Share Press