On Issues

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has invited comments on Draft of Intermediary Guidelines, 2018. In view of this, FSMI made a submission with our comments. 

The months of November and December 2018 were abuzz with political discussions and discussions all over the social media very intensely in the states of Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana. These elections were considered to be the semi finals to the General Elections to be held in the first half of 2019. Soon we shall see intense political discussions and discourses in social media across the country. It is important for us to see if this is going to be another tool for the subversion of the democratic process?

Prabir Purkayastha, President FSMI, discusses about the largest cyber security threat ever. The ransomware wannacry, its effects and the the group behind it.

The vigilant community of developers, activists, hacktivists, academia  and organisations like Free Software Movement of India, savetheinternet, startup communities had to carry out a dogged campaign for net neutrality in face of such money power.

We as FSMI, strongly oppose inclusion of DRM (Digital Rights Management)  technologies and its attempt to control what a user can and can't do with the media and hardware you've purchased.

Would you like to watch your legally bought movies on different devices? Would you like to backup your DVDs? Or would you like to convert your e-books into different formats?

The Free Software Movement of India notes with concern the proposal of the Union Government to bring back (albeit in a different form) the widely misused Section 66A of the IT Act that was struck down by the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment in March 2015.

The government had entrusted a group of officials from the Home Ministry and the security agencies to re-write the 66A after it was struck down. A draft of the revised 66A is now circulating, whose main purpose seems to be replicate in the IT Act what is already in the Indian Penal Code, e.g., 153 A, as well as expand its scope.

The original purpose of 66A was to prevent spam. Instead it became an omnibus detailing of “crimes”, many of which are already addressed elsewhere. Free Software Movement of India believes that the 66A should not be brought back in a different form with a different wording, giving the police more powers than it already has. The existing laws are adequate to deal with the issues that the police are claiming that the revised 66A will deal with. We believe that off-line rights and on-line rights should be same and do not think that there should be two sets of definitions for the same offenses, merely because they occur off-line or on-line.

Free Software Movement of India hails the decision taken by TRAI that disallows the service providers to offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content being accessed by a consumer. TRAI carried out a thorough examination of the issues in the responses to its Consultation paper on the subject and taken a decision that upholds Net-neutrality. It has also made clear that it considers net neutrality to be the guiding principle of the internet.

TRAI has mentioned that they should keep close watch on implementation of the mandate by the service providers. The community also should be watchful and ensure that no back doors that would breach Net Neutrality be allowed.

This case of the consultation process stands out to be unique, where mighty corporations have come out spending huge money as advertisements in all forms of media and mould public opinion in their favour. The vigilant developer, activist, hacktivist communities and organisations had to fight it out in all means for Truth to Prevail. This consultation was a testimony to people's intellect against the corporate money based manoeuvre.

We congratulate all the organizations, individuals, activists, hackers and hacktivist communities who took part in this movement and voiced their views in support of net-neutrality.

 

We need "FREE Internet"

Not

Balkanized(FreeBasics) Internet...

On December 17, Facebook unleashed a massive campaign trying to win support for its Free Basics platform, which has been the subject of a lot of controversy.This is in the context of the consultation paper put out by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which looks into the issue of differential pricing.

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The Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) welcomes the decision of the Patent Office, made vide its Order of December 14, 2015, to revoke the Guidelines for Patenting of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs) issued on August 21, 2015.

The Patent Office has stated in its aforementioned order that having received several representations regarding the interpretation and scope of Section 3(k) of Patents Act, it has decided to keep the Guidelines of August 21, 2015, under abeyance till contentious issues are resolved.

Mark Zuckerberg has extended his support to Digital India and has facilitated people to express their support through Facebook with a special page http://fb.com/supportdigitalindia. However, the source code of the page makes a reference to certain terms which hint at a malified intent.

On an introspection there is a reference to “XinternetOrgProfilePictureController”. The controller code is what
executes on server side, to which end users will not have any access or knowledge about. There is another suspicious class name “_internetOrgProfilPicture_prideAvatar” which is further assisting javaScript code. This could be sufficient to suspect code being invoked to support InternetOrg.