Lets face it. The Indian government isn’t really that tech savvy. And I can’t blame them cause of 2 reasons. 1. They’re old, and old people prefer the old ways, and 2. Their job is to lead the country, and not be versed on what the latest iOS version or HTML version is. Which is why I feel, that in part, that online censorship in India has been implemented. To control what they don’t fully understand yet.
It all stems down to section 66A of the Indian constitution. Section 66A elaborates on the subject of offensive messages and punishments thereon through communication service, etc.
a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.
So the bottom line is we can’t talk against the government in public, or on the internet. Online censorship in India is real. Because in real life, you can’t really reach that many people. On the Internet its total different ball game. you can reach to so many people, and not just in India. The fear is the power to influence radical movements by ordinary people. The same fear that the Britishers felt when they ruled over India for 200 years.
And how did the Britishers deal with it? They tried all possible methods to squash it. To quell the rage. To censor speech. In the presses. In the public transports. In public gatherings. You were either with them or had to hide. But it was their last resort. In times where you seem to be losing control, you try to gain back control by any means possible.
What is the alternative solution? I don’t know yet. Governments have seen countries crumble under the power of the internet. And when you see that, you freak out. you don’t know what to do since you can’t understand how it works. And you do what you’ve been trained to do. Control it, any way possible.
Online censorship in India started from external emergencies. The same emergency that will emerge from countries trying to control the internet.