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Op-Ed: Self Defense In Cyberspace Against State

By Pritesh N Munjal     Mar 6, 2009 in Politics
Privacy rights are valuable and must not be violated by the government under the garb of national security. This article is analysing whether the citizens have a right to self-defense against the State if the latter is violating their rights illegally?
Some concepts are well ahead of their time and are therefore not given much attention even though they must be of great interest to a nation. This is more so if the matter pertains to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). One such concept or theory as was suggested in 2004 by Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing partner of Perry4Law, pertains to private defense in cyberspace. The concept gave a techno-legal comparative analysis of the self-defense rights of citizens against the e-surveillance activities of the State. After almost 5 years, we are witnessing the self-defense campaign by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against State‘s surveillance. It seems the concept of self-defense has finally been accepted by the international community. However, India has still to consider this concept and apply it to Indian conditions.
The law has fallen well short of the desired standards and requirements in the present technological world. The fact remains that neither law nor technology alone can eliminate the threats of illegal e-surveillance. We need a good combination of techno-legal measures that alone can tackle the nuisance of privacy violations” says Mr. Praveen Dalal.
The recent proposed Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2008 (Bill, 2008) has further complicated the issues. With enhanced and unregulated e-surveillance powers, the Bill, 2008 is all set to invade the privacy of Indian citizens. Since the Privacy law in India has become absolutely subject to the whims and fancies of Indian government, we are left with no choice but to use technology to fight back. The natural question that arises is whether it is legal to exercise private defense against the State?
According to Praveen Dalal, “Private or self defense is a Human Right, Constitutional Rights as well as Statutory Right. The Indian citizens have a right to exercise self defense even against the State. This is more so in the sphere of ICT where there are least possibilities of human injuries. However the same can be exercised by law abiding citizens alone and criminals cannot claim this Constitutional Protection. We are in the process of formulation of guidelines and recommendations in this crucial field and would share the same at appropriate time and with relevant authorities”.
There is a dire need of a good techno-legal framework in India that can manage the issues pertaining to e-surveillance in India. The lawlessness may bring great disorders in India as India is a place of ICT intellectuals who, unfortunately, are on the other side of the wall and are not consulted while making laws or policies.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about E-surveillance india, Cyber law india, Praveen dalal