Knowing Those Who Watch Us: Snooping or National Interests?
Anonymous | Jan 07, 2019
Feeling very cozy sitting at your computer, browsing through numerous sites that pop ads once in a while? Here is a fact that can make you shift in your seats- you may be watched. Over the years, as the internet becomes more and more neutralized, the government agencies becomes more and more insecure about the reach of the common folk and how it can affect them. Here is how Wikipedia defines net neutrality— “Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, Internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.”
How would one feel if the postman read all their letters before it even reached the destination? Pretty violating to privacy it appears. But in this case the only reason for the postman can be curiosity. What the government does is a far more complex and intricate process of gathering every bit of information from us, even while we are shopping online or just simply “Googling”. Whether it actually needs the information or it is just to satisfy their insecurities can be debated upon, but the frequent use of VPNs (virtual private networks) and incognito browsers definitely indicates how the public reacts to it. Here is what the home ministry declared about the snooping agencies last month, “These  agencies can intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer under an Information Technology Act.”
The best example to this is the latest porn ban by the government of India. India has been the third most porn consuming country over the past few years, and the numbers seem to be escalating more quickly, even after the ban. What went wrong? After many cases of abuse among both children and adults, the government blamed only online pornography rather having a closer study of the matter. Just mere statistics (gathered over a period of time) led them to revive the 2015 ban which had previously been unsuccessful. This time it appeared to be stricter as 857 sites were banned by many ISPs (internet service providers). But Indians are known for their ‘jugaad’ ways, and they found a way to fix it quite soon and the numbers are still sky-rocketing. While unchecked access to pornographic content that may land in a minor’s hand is a genuine concern, is banning all adults from accessing such content really the solution? This is something to wonder about.
The government may try to snoop over our private and personal data and be successful in the maneuver of reasoning about it, but how it may actually be misused can be a great concern.