Vickram Crishna | 14 Aug 07:16 2014
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Evolution of cybercrime laws in Tamil nadu

'Need', or 'have'? The lawbooks are full of antediluvian laws, a matter I understand was very much part of the deliberations of the Constitutional Assembly, correct me if I'm mistaken, as among the things a democratically appointed Parliament would redefine or remove. So it took some 40 years for this august body to decide that some persons hailing from some tribes in some parts of India were not, after all, criminals by virtue of their birth, for instance.  I'm sure they had other terribly pressing matters on the mind in the interim, and still have.

Is it any wonder that it does not act to halt cowboy actions by some police officers somewhere, doubtless in honest reliance upon their own judgment of right and wrong, but which are then flaunted happily by lesser beings puffed up with their position? Just because a state has some rule or even law, does not mean that the people of the state have knowingly decided this is suitable for themselves and is something they wish to have in place, and furthermore, acted upon in this fashion. But I don't think we actually have such a benighted state anywhere in this country.

Incidentally, the powers ascribed to state and center are fairly well defined, and telecom, data services, wireless etc are central matters. I don't think states have the power to yank in persons for actions that are governed by a different set of laws, central laws, under flimsy parochial perceptions. Am I right?

Or am I a goonda for asking?

Vickram
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On Thursday, 14 August 2014, 9:37, Srini RamaKrishnan <cheeni-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:


I am puzzled that such draconian laws are needed to deal with what is essentially a non-violent crime.
The benefits are not at all clear to me, but the risks are obviously many.
Any opinions on why some of the most wealthy states in India need such laws?
On Aug 13, 2014 11:51 AM, "Banibrata Dutta" <banibrata.dutta <at> gmail.com> wrote:
Karnataka has had a similar good fortune... let's join in the celebration :-)

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-07-30/news/52237723_1_goonda-act-offences-offenders



On Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 8:46 PM, Srini RamaKrishnan <cheeni-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:
Summary:

Cybercrime offenders to be treated on par with hardened
criminals and sex offenders, and can face up to a year of preventive
detention in the state of Tamil Nadu.

There have been previous attempts to do this in TN,
http://www.ndtv.com/article/south/tamil-nadu-to-bring-cyber-crime-under-goondas-act-307528

The latest is this:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/amendments-will-be-violative-of-article-21-22-experts/article6306765.ece

"More significantly, the Bill also proposes to bring under the Goondas
Act the offences listed in Chapter XI of the Information Technology
Act. This includes Section 66(A) that prohibits “offensive messages
through communication service.”

In recent times, a number of persons have been booked under this
Section in many parts of the country for posting “offensive” messages
on social media sites attracting outrage from rights activists.

In fact, moving one step further, the amendments in the Bill make even
“preparations” for engaging in a cyber crime an offence if it had the
potential to affect public order.

“By bringing within its ambit those persons who are preparing to
engage in the commission of a cyber-law offence, the police will be
authorised to detain individuals who simply visit a website that
carries derogatory material that, if disseminated, will endanger
public order. Such a provision is hardly reasonable and is
constitutionally suspect,” feels Abhishek Sudhir, Assistant Director
of the Centre for Public Law and Jurisprudence at the Jindal Global
Law School. “Such a provision is violative of Article 21 of the
Constitution [which protects right of life and personal liberty].”

As on April 7, Tamil Nadu had 1851 persons detained under the TPDA."

Other reasons to be concerned, besides cybercrime:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/activists-fear-misuse-of-law/article6307809.ece?homepage=true

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Srini RamaKrishnan | 12 Aug 17:16 2014
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Evolution of cybercrime laws in Tamil nadu

Summary:

Cybercrime offenders to be treated on par with hardened
criminals and sex offenders, and can face up to a year of preventive
detention in the state of Tamil Nadu.

There have been previous attempts to do this in TN,
http://www.ndtv.com/article/south/tamil-nadu-to-bring-cyber-crime-under-goondas-act-307528

The latest is this:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/amendments-will-be-violative-of-article-21-22-experts/article6306765.ece

"More significantly, the Bill also proposes to bring under the Goondas
Act the offences listed in Chapter XI of the Information Technology
Act. This includes Section 66(A) that prohibits “offensive messages
through communication service.”

In recent times, a number of persons have been booked under this
Section in many parts of the country for posting “offensive” messages
on social media sites attracting outrage from rights activists.

In fact, moving one step further, the amendments in the Bill make even
“preparations” for engaging in a cyber crime an offence if it had the
potential to affect public order.

“By bringing within its ambit those persons who are preparing to
engage in the commission of a cyber-law offence, the police will be
authorised to detain individuals who simply visit a website that
carries derogatory material that, if disseminated, will endanger
public order. Such a provision is hardly reasonable and is
constitutionally suspect,” feels Abhishek Sudhir, Assistant Director
of the Centre for Public Law and Jurisprudence at the Jindal Global
Law School. “Such a provision is violative of Article 21 of the
Constitution [which protects right of life and personal liberty].”

As on April 7, Tamil Nadu had 1851 persons detained under the TPDA."

Other reasons to be concerned, besides cybercrime:
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/activists-fear-misuse-of-law/article6307809.ece?homepage=true

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sarbajit roy | 8 Aug 06:28 2014
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Who is the competent authority to block websites in India

Dear Gii-ites,

[Hope the list still works]

A few years back Naavi had posted this [http://www.bloggernews.net/124423]
Are there any updates to this question.

The background is that an emerging political party (!) has recently decided to form various Cab Driver and Auto Chaalak sanghs nationwide. Their acronym is "CDAC" (Cab Driver Auto Chaalak). They initially booked an .IN  domain name "CDACPUNE.IN" and intended to setup user sub-domains for user-blogs like blogspot and tumblr etc. do.

On 2.Aug.2014 (when the domain got activated) I offered to test it out (during the 5 days "Add Grace Period" allowed for domain tasting by .IN Registry policy) by installing a stripped-down open-source highly SEO friendly tasting "TextPress" blog "natgrid.cdacpune.in" developed by an Indian coder in God's own country, which is viewable by simple DNS redirects to wherever the blogs are actually hosted, in this case to "natgrid-cdacindia.rhcloud.com", to see how search engines like Google index it. Google indexed it very fast and it was no.3 for "Natgrid" within 24 hours.

2-3 days later I got some phone calls from NATGRID that publication of any material about NATGRID is a violation of Official Secrets Act, and that nothing about Natgrid can be published in public domain since Natgrid is an exempted organisation under RTI Act etc. I disagreed with their interpretation as almost all the material is compiled from reliable 3rd party sources which are easily accessed online - such as DoPT's website, Rajya Sabha reply to questions, and former NATGRID CEO Raghu Raman's own blog in Livemint.

So the "Joint Secretary" Natgrid (which is under MHA) has apparently issued a letter, as did also C-DAC, to NIXI (which has been illegally operating the IN Registry since 2005 as I have established using RTI), and a FIR for impersonation of NATGRD has been filed in Pune by CDAC, and the domain has been shut down by NIXI by deleting its root domain records on 6 August 2014 while still under the AGP period.

No attempt was made to contact the Registrant (an auto chaalak) in this entire process, and the block was all done unilaterally and secretly. The Registrant has thereafter made several complaints to NIXI and CERT-IN but they are evading replying under which provision the domain is disabled or who authorised it or if it was done u/s 69 IT Act.

The blog is still accessible at natgrid-cdacindia.rhcloud.com and CDAC / India Against Corruption are planning to fight this one out and get C-DAC's own website taken down under IT Act and file our own IT Act complaints. The political wing shall probably take a .US domain name and also sue NATGRID and MHA in USA.

We infer that what has actually upset "NATGRID" is that we incidentally posted that the concerned JS is a "superannuated officer" who was last posted as JS in DoPT and also worked on the proposed Privacy Law there. Now Natgrid has apparently also been hiring and rehiring PSU people at astronomical salaries to "nobble" them.  So I filed an online RTI using DoPT's portal for this at 1:53 PM on 6-Aug-2014 to MHA which was automatically forwarded to this officer. Within 5 hours he gets the blog shut down at NIXI level. Highly suspicious what ?

Sarbajit Roy






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Banibrata Dutta | 5 Aug 13:38 2014
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Regulator (TRAI) to have industry consultation on OTT...

See some strange reasoning...

Telcos losing revenue to, and unable to compete with OTT providers... Which means pricing of messaging services aren't set competitively?

http://m.lightreading.in/lightreadingindia/news-analysis/297382/trai-dialogue-telcos-otts?utm_campaign=050814&utm_medium=daily&utm_source=newsletter

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TheHoot.org: What Sandberg and Modi didn't talk about


What Sandberg and Modi didn't talk about
Facebook's violation of privacy and ethics in its 'emotional contagion' research is causing a furore yet does not seem to have figured in Narendra Modi's talks with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.   The PM should have questioned her closely on behalf of India's millions of Facebook users, says GEETA SESHU. PIX: Screenshot of PNAS research
http://www.thehoot.org/web/What-Sandberg-and-Modi-didn-t-talk-about/7623-1-1-12-true.html
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EVMs

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-28/news/50929437_1_evms-senior-ec-officials-machines

Election Commission to scrap EVMs whose infallibility was questioned during Lok Sabha polls

Ritika Chopra, ET Bureau Jun 28, 2014, 04.00AM IST 

NEW DELHI: It's vanaprastha time for these old warhorses of Indian elections. And unlike some lush forest, the setting for this will probably be in a junkyard for electronics goods.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) could soon embark on a wholesale junking exercise in which up to 900,000 electronic voting machines, or EVMs, could be headed for the scrapyard in the next five years, after their supposed infallibility was questioned during the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls when some defective machines reportedly recorded all votes in favour of just one political party.

In early April, in the run-up to the final polling day in Assam, election officials stumbled upon a voting machine in Jorhat constituency which transferred all votes cast to the BJP candidate.

A similar incident was reported from a polling booth in Pune a few weeks later, when voters found their vote being cast in favour of the Congress party irrespective of the button pressed on the electronic voting machine.

Although the defective units were replaced immediately, media reports on the faulty machines had political parties and activists questioning the efficacy of EVMs in general.

An embarrassed EC has now decided to embark on a major revamp — the largest ever — of its EVM stock and abandon all 15-year-old voting machines and replace them with new ones before the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

According to senior EC officials, some 900,000 EVMs are set to complete 15 years of age before the year 2019.

"The commission has prepared a detailed plan to get rid of them and replace them with new ones over the next five years," said a senior EC official, who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The proposal for the exercise, which could cost around Rs 1,000 crore, was sent to the Modi government last week. EVMs, which are now the backbone of elections, were first used across the country in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, making India even ahead of several developed countries where paper ballots are still the norm.

The use of EVMs in India started in 1981, but these were mostly done in the form of pilot programmes and were scaled up in subsequent elections. The adoption of EVMs accelerated from 2000-01 onwards and by 2004, EVMs were the norm.

In the 2014 general elections, the commission had deployed close to 16 lakh EVMs. Complaints regarding these machines, senior EC officials say, have surfaced recently and only in those EVMs which were procured in the year 2000-2001 at the cost of around Rs 10,000 per unit.

One of the machines' manufacturer, Hyderabad-based state-run Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, on EC's directive, found that the 2000-2001 batch machines were acting up because of a defective part.

"They offered to repair these machines, but the commission decided to not take chances and dispose them off. There are about 1-1.5 lakh EVMs from this batch and they will be destroyed first as soon as the law ministry (EC's parent body) approves the proposal," the official added.

--
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Arun Mehta | 27 Jun 14:28 2014
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Indian language speech recognition on Android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_arun_mehta.TellMyPhone is my free app for the deaf with low vision -- dare I say, our future too, should we live long enough?

Anyway, it uses Android speech recognition, made accessible to novices in programming by App Inventor, http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/ -- my video on the app https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BnM_VF16rSo&feature=youtu.be is 5 minutes long, yet shows not only how the app works and what it does, but also how I made it. So, those of you who learnt Basic once, do check out App Inventor. But my main purpose in posting this is different.

I discovered by accident, after the app was written, that it also recognized Hindi. It didn't do German or French, though. Google put out a press item about how well Voice did in recognizing Indian accents, which I can confirm.

What I'm wondering, is if the app is downloaded in Hungary or Japan, which languages it will recognize. Can't seem to find this information on the web.

Arun Mehta

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Jim Forster | 11 Jun 20:23 2014
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Re: Out in the Open: This Super-Cheap Cellphone Network Brings Coverage Almost Anywhere | Enterprise | WIRED

(apologies if you're getting this twice; I got a bounce message from the list claiming I wasn't a subscriber..


Ram, all:

I know quite a bit about this, as I am an early Angel investor in Range Networks, am on the Board, and also active in a Biz Dev role.

I'm happy to explain more, answer questions, etc., either to the list or off-list.

I think it's very cool -- on the one hand OpenBTS takes as given the mobile phones of today via their Air interface (Um).  But after that it converts the calls and texts to Internet standard based protocol, SIP.  The RF is done using a software defined radio, with the software running on an x86 process (Intel Atom, or more usually Core i.7, or sometimes ARM).  OpenBTS is also open sourced -- not only the software, but even our first Software Defined Radio is Open Source.  You can send our CAD files to a manufacturer and get back radio cards.  

In theory it could run on any frequency (SDR), but in practice it runs in the cellular bands, so that normal phones will work.

Cell systems used to be obscure, mysterious and even intimidating.  Not any more.  It's just some software. 

  -- Jim

PS: At the risk of veering into a commercial message: we have nice little Dev Kits available for very little $$; and 50% discount for Universities.  The students can then examine every line of code, and change them if they want :-)


On Jun 9, 2014, at 9:20 PM, Ramnarayan.K <ramnarayan.k-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:

http://www.wired.com/2014/06/openbts/

For you kind info

Apologies for multiple cross posting
ram
***
Sent from an android device


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Vickram Crishna | 31 May 10:13 2014
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Cryptic moves

http://mvp.substanti.al/article/5f31cd10-34e8-4c93-9305-ddc584a9c3d2

published 05/28/2014 17:05, from latimes.com
Following a break-in at a county health contractor's office that led to the theft of computers containing personal information about more than 342,000 patients, Los Angeles County supervisors moved to tighten protocols for protecting data.

From where I stand, it looks like the inevitable result of years, perhaps decades, of systematically weakening standards and enabling state conduct of mass surveillance, brought in its wake a fan club of criminals and quasi-criminals, and now personal data is fair game.

In India, of course, applying such protection in any functional manner invariably trips over one law or another, while the laws that support patient confidentiality do not seem to be used or are not effective when thefts are wholesale, and may not even require physical access, hence inverstigators conveniently fall back upon the two IT laws, Indian Telegraph and Information Technology.
 
Vickram
http://communicall.wordpress.com
http://vvcrishna.wordpress.com
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Vickram Crishna | 25 May 13:33 2014
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India shows the way

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/05/22/nsa-reform-bill-passes-house-despite-loss-of-support-from-privacy-advocates/


The House passed a bill Thursday aimed at reforming the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records, a policy that came to light due to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, would shift responsibility for retaining telephonic metadata from the government to telephone companies. Providers like AT&T and Verizon would be required to maintain the records and let the NSA search them in terrorism investigations when the agency obtains a judicial order or in certain emergency situations. The bill passed on an 303 to 121 vote.
But privacy advocates, technology companies and lawmakers warned that the version of the bill passed by the House was watered down to the point where they could no longer support it.
"This is not the bill that was reported out of the judiciary bill unanimously," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee who was a co-sponsor of the initial version of the bill. "The result is a bill that will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably."
Lofgren said she was particularly concerned about the bill's definition of "selector terms," which are the terms that would be used by the NSA to define the scope of their data request to the phone companies.
The initial version of the bill included a more narrow definition, but some privacy advocates fear the definition in the Freedom Act passed Thursday could be used to collect broad swaths of information. 
"If we leave any ambiguity at all, we have learned that the intelligence community will drive a truck through that ambiguity," she said. Others, including Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) also expressed their concern with the legislation. Holt specifically attacked the bill for using a "weak and inferior standard that does not meet probable cause" as the benchmark for judicial orders to search phone records.
On Wednesday, the White House endorsed the bill. "The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected when these authorities are employed," an official statement of policy read. "Among other provisions, the bill prohibits bulk collection through the use of Section 215, FISA pen registers, and National Security Letters."
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) was the primary sponsor of the bill and the author of the Patriot Act, legislation passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Section 215 of the Patriot Act was used as the legal basis of the NSA's phone records collection program. In a floor speech before the vote, Sensenbrenner said that the government misapplied that earlier legislation through a feat of "legal gymnastics."
"I don't blame people for losing trust in their government because the government betrayed their trust," he said.
Sensenbrenner urged his fellow members to support the bill, although he said wished the version of the bill voted on Thursday "did more."
"Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good," he said.
Others were more enthusiastic in their support. "This is a carefully crafted, bipartisan bill," Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said, adding that the bill "once again proves that American liberty and security are not mutually exclusive."
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, tried to assuage concerns about the selector term, calling them "largely theoretical."
"We stand poised to end domestic bulk collection across the board," Conyers said while endorsing the bill before the vote. While Conyers admitted that the bill was "imperfect" he called it "a significant improvement over the status quo."
But in a blog post, Kevin Bankston the policy director at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute identified a number of areas where he says the bill had been weakened, including limiting transparency reporting provisions for tech companies affected by government data requests and the selector term issue decried by Lofgren.
In a statement to The Washington Post after the bill's passage, Bankston said it was "still better than the Intelligence committee's competing bill, or no bill at all," but that privacy advocates would have to work hard in the Senate to reverse the changes that weakened the bill.
Julian Sanchez, a scholar at the Cato Institute working on these issues, says a lot will turn on how the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets phrases like “specific selection term.”
"Unfortunately nobody has much expectation that anything better is coming to the floor anytime soon—and even the New Coke version of this bill is better than nothing, and certainly better than the House Intelligence bill."
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the USA Freedom Act requires telephone companies to maintain phone records for 18 months. The legislation does not contain such a requirement.

In India, as we know, recording metadata as well as some kinds of communications is the job of the telecom companies already, built right into their licenses. No fear of any law to prevent it, as the combination of the two IT Acts, the telegraph and the telecommunications, spanning 125 years of colonial thinking on command and control are quite effective on stripping us of most of the rights we might have thought a given. The media's reportage on this complex issue has not helped, although there has been some blowback from the social media itself, but that is deliberately considered 'unofficial' by all, including the media, which naturally fears it, and would rather stop it if it can't control and profit from it.

However, the call for a privacy law may not be as straightforward as it seems. All over the world, and as the above example shows, that includes the USA, the natural trend is to weaken such laws and ensure that government has the actual power over citizens, not quite the definition of democracy spelled out by Abraham Lincoln. Since we don't have one yet, the departments of various ministries (DoPT, in its 4th attempt to date, for instance) are working overtime (I don't mean that anyone actually works after hours, they hardly work during hours either) to draft out a law that will be acceptable to the State. In keeping with its provisions, the draft of the Privacy Law has not been made public, since acceptability to the people it affects is hardly a priority, although copies can be found now and then here and there. It definitely looks more professional now, from the first attempt, which involved physical cut and paste (involving paper and glue) from earlier documents.

Vickram
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Arun Mehta | 6 May 05:12 2014
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India suggesting renaming of Internet as ‘Equinet’ ?

http://m.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/india-to-suggest-renaming-of-internet-as-equinet/article5916877.ece/?maneref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

even the AP regional IGF (August 3, Greater Noida) has as its theme "Internet to Equinet".

We really seem to have a lack of problems in this country, for the government to come up with such nonsense to keep its bureaucrats busy.

Arun Mehta

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