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India: Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 will scuttle Internet Freedom

14 April 2012

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MPs of India: Support the Annulment Motion to Protect Internet Freedom

Government has enacted laws that gives it a free pass to censor our Facebook posts, listen to every Skype conversation we have, monitor our tweets or blogs or access private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones or surveil all of your online activity.

Tell your government that they cannot use vaguely defined laws and loopholes to take away your freedom of speech and expression.

On 11th April 2011, the Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship / self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers).

In addition, mandatory data retention would force your Internet Service Provider to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about you. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.

Sh. P. Rajeeve , Hon’ble Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an annulment motion to get these rules abolished. We need at least 100,000 signatures to urge all other MPs to support this motion.

Sign this petition to "SAVE YOUR VOICE". Government wants to use the threat of "national security" or "public morality" to undermine our digital rights. Tell your lawmakers that we won’t stand for censorship, monitoring or dangerous, unsupervised information sharing in this law or any law like it.


Support the annulment motion to protect internet freedom.

Dear Member of Parliament,

The Constitution of India provides the citizens of this country the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression subject to reasonable restrictions as laid down in the Constitution itself. Now, with the spread of the Internet and the availability of tools like blogs and social networks we are able to enjoy this freedom to the fullest and have a true participatory democracy.

You, as legislators recognised the importance of intermediaries like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Internet Service Providers for e-commerce as well as for free expression, helping us to express ourselves and provided them protection from any legal liability that could arise out of content generated by users. Such a protection provided in the Information Technology Act, 2000 was important for these intermediaries to operate freely without threats of frivolous legal action.

Now, the Government wants to impose restrictive, unconstitutional guidelines on the intermediaries via the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 notified in April 2011.

The rules cast an obligation on the intermediaries to remove access to any content on receiving a complaint from an affected person that it falls under the category of a wide, vague, undefined list of “unlawful” content specified in the rules. This vague list includes content considered as ’blasphemous’, ’libellous’, ’grossly harmful’, ’harassing’, or ’disparaging’. The rules mandate the intermediaries to decide whether content is “lawful”, thereby bye-passing judicial processes. The rules also allow Government agencies to access personal data of users without any legal safeguards. These rules are violative of our constitutional rights of freedom of expression and privacy and are also against the intent of the Parliament as stated in the Information Technology Act, 2000.

We appeal to you to support the motion for annulment of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 being moved in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and to ask the Government to draft new rules which will protect our freedom and privacy.


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