Fri 2 Jan 2015 3:38PM

Statement on Indian Government censorship of the Internet

PP Pirate Praveen Public Seen by 116

--- Draft statement, please comment, before 9th Jan 2015 ---

Recently many sites have been blocked by many Internet Service Providers [1]. We, Indian Pirates, consider this as a violation of our fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the constitution.

Censorship is characteristic of undemocratic nations like China, Iran and Soudi Arabia, should be viewed in contrast with how the governments of Sweden, Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Brazil and many more countries provide their citizens completely unrestricted Internet [2].

Censorship is bad because when you lose freedom of speech you lose individual opinions! Without the free flow of ideas and thought, we miss beneficial ideas. If you look at history great ideas from people like Martin Luther King, that changed society were considered bad in their time. If people like him were censored we wouldn't be having the freedoms we enjoy today.

Online Censorship laws allow authorities to block large amounts of content in secrecy, without adequate demonstration of necessity, and in a disproportionate manner. The rules for blocking provide little by way of rights safeguards [3]. We don't expect this government will listen to any of us, to uphold basic human rights. So we are left with only technical measures to exercise our fundamental rights.

We recommend using censorship free DNS services like opennicproject.org and dns.watch to continue browsing the internet without interruption.

We also anticipate more powerful censorship in the coming days, so we recommend everyone to start using tor (torproject.org). You may also use a vpn service like https://www.privatetunnel.com/ or https://vpn.autistici.org/ or https://help.riseup.net/en/vpn for faster browsing without local censorship but they are not fully anonymous (vpn service providers can track you and they may be legally required to track you and provide your information when asked). You can also setup a VPN service yourself if you have access to a server outside India using Free Software like OpenVPN (http://openvpn.net).

As a long term solution, we recommend getting involved in politics and stop expecting career politicians to stand up for our rights. Support groups and collectives that defend democracy and fight for human rights.

If you really think blocking websites will stop terrorism, you are in a fool's heaven. Almost all terrorists groups are sustained by state support. You can read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-sponsored_terrorism for a list of terrorist groups supported by various countries.

Indian Pirates is a collective fighting for human rights and civil liberties. You can join us at pirates.org.in

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/31/indian-government-censorsht/
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_and_surveillance_by_country
[3] http://www.thehoot.org/web/Online-Censorship-laws-needs-reform/8035-1-1-7-true.html


Jackson Isaac Fri 2 Jan 2015 3:52PM

I would like to add that instead of completely blocking a website, they can block or filter out the parts that might be misused or are misleading.


Pirate Praveen Sat 3 Jan 2015 3:08AM

@jacksonisaac that is impossible to achieve. If you are using https, all anyone trying to filter could see is the website address, rest of the url is encrypted. Terrorism is a political problem, without support from nation states terrorists cannot exist. If we really want to stop terrorism we have to stop the political support to terrorism. Also who is a terrorist is defined by people in power. So even with strong evidence, Amit Shah is declared innocent. You can never expect this government to ban RSS or Shiva Sena how much ever violence they unleash. Heck, we are ruled by fascists, how can you expect them to be fair in censorship?


Karthikeyan A K Sat 3 Jan 2015 5:16PM

+1 @praveenarimbrathod


Pirate Praveen Sun 4 Jan 2015 2:11AM

Add one more section:

If widespread use of technologies like tor is helping criminals and terrorists, the responsibility is squarely on the government, because they broke the promise of protecting free speech, making these steps necessary for people valuing their freedom.


Pirate Praveen Sun 4 Jan 2015 2:43AM

Add title "Prepare yourself for full internet censorship, learn ways to resist censorship today."


[deactivated account] Sun 4 Jan 2015 10:17AM

Or use vpns like tunnel bear and cyberghost.. It's free too!


Akshay Sun 4 Jan 2015 1:05PM

We should probably also be telling about how censorship is bad and how it is a common practice in restrictive countries like China and how it is considered a violation of their Constitutions in the West.


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 6:57AM

@arjun thanks for the vpn idea, I'd prefer to recommend Free Software based solutions like https://www.privatetunnel.com/


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 7:01AM

@arjun I'd still prefer to suggest only tor as VPN service providers can still track you and in many countries they are required to track you by law.


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 7:02AM

@arjun see https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/5888/tor-vs-vpn/ for a comparison.


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 7:15AM

@akshay can you suggest how to present it? Give sample text to build on.


[deactivated account] Mon 5 Jan 2015 8:17AM

@praveenarimbrathod.. True that tor is anyday more trustworthy than any vpns service but then it's slow and you need to use the browser.. So I did a bit of research and found that strongvpn doesn't not maintain any logs and do not pass on any information to the government unless they receive a court order.. Although it's a paid service it's fast n easy to use.. I wish tor was faster n was easy to configure it in a way that all Internet traffic from the computer went through tor


[deactivated account] Mon 5 Jan 2015 8:17AM

@praveenarimbrathod shall try the private tunnel software though


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 9:08AM

@arjun okay. We can mention vpn as a faster option without full anonymity (service provider can track you).


Akshay Mon 5 Jan 2015 9:12AM

Recently many sites have been blocked by many Internet Service Providers (see http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/31/indian-government-censorsht/ for more details).
We, Indian Pirates, consider this as a violation of our fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the constitution.
This unsolicited action characteristic of undemocratic nations like China, should be viewed in contrast with how the governments of Sweden, Netherlands, etc provide their citizens complete personal liberty blah blah blah..

Can't think of words.


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 10:03AM

@arjun @akshay please go through the current version and suggest improvements.


vik@hamara Mon 5 Jan 2015 10:54AM

Do you have a legal opinion on constitutional breach? A court challenge might bring some beneficial publicity


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 11:06AM

@vik I have asked our friends on stopit list for their comments. Lets see if someone is willing to take this up in court.


vik@hamara Mon 5 Jan 2015 11:08AM

OK - I would be interested in helping to crowdfund an effort like that


vik@hamara Mon 5 Jan 2015 11:09AM

Also, if we can lend you resource from the hamara project, let us know? We have dev, sysadmin, graphic design


[deactivated account] Mon 5 Jan 2015 12:57PM

@praveenarimbrathod we could add Switzerland and Brazil too.. Brazil came out with the world's first Internet bill..http://dailydot.com/tags/marco-civil


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 3:15PM

@vik design team can help us with the diaspora yatra campaign. We are planning to host a diaspora pod in India and the sysadmin team can help there. dev team can always choose their favourite free software program and improve. It would be great if some of them can work on programs like diaspora, round cube, mailpile, mailvelope, jabber servers and clients that are needed for secure private communications.


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 3:16PM

@arjun updated with Switzerland and Brazil in the good countries list.


vik@hamara Mon 5 Jan 2015 3:41PM

OK, devs are working on hamara linux - we are looking at privacy / security issues and will be pushing our work upstream. We do have some cloud hosting - have you secured hosting for your pod?


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 4:18PM

@vik is your hosting in India? We want to have at least one pod hosted in India (hosting costs are up to 5 times higher in India). You could setup pod.hamaralinux.org it will support diaspora network by taking some load of the network and also help you get some publicity for your project.


vik@hamara Mon 5 Jan 2015 4:22PM

Yes - we have our own rack space in running OpenStack in Noida, London and Amsterdam. Am quite into hosting a diaspora pod in Noida


Pirate Praveen Mon 5 Jan 2015 4:25PM

@vik great! Lets continue the pod hosting discussion at https://www.loomio.org/d/kNSzb4sj/diasp-in-a-pod-hosted-in-india


William Kane Mon 8 Jun 2015 11:43AM

In a region with highly pervasive internet monitoring and restrictions on public opinion using a VPN is possibly the primary way of securing yourself online.


Mic Justin Fri 31 Jul 2015 11:40AM

Yes using a VPN is secure but never trust on any free VPN service as they log your activities and you already on risk with that You can easily get cheap VPN service at http://www.bestvpnprovider.com to use in your region and can secure yourself on internet.


Pirate Praveen Fri 31 Jul 2015 2:16PM

Autistici.org and riseup.net has a track record of standing up for privacy and their mission is to provide privacy for people. It appears the above two comments are ads. What does everyone think?


Alvano Richie Sat 1 Aug 2015 7:10AM

Optimistic view: Like any other law in India, this will be scraped.
Or you can use ipvanish vpn to protect your online identity.


[deactivated account] Mon 31 Aug 2015 7:51AM

Are we taking a stand in the recent blockade of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp following the riots in gujarat?... http://thenextweb.com/in/2015/08/26/india-just-turned-off-mobile-internet-for-67-million-citizens-amid-protests-in-ahmedabad/


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Mic Justin Mon 21 Dec 2015 1:40PM

Censorship is big issue in most of the countries specially in Asian regions. Internet users have been using VPNs for a long time to access geo restricted content or bypassing internet restrictions. I would suggest some reliable VPN providers here http://www.bestvpnprovider.com/providers/


thomas L Smith Wed 8 Jun 2016 6:51AM

You need a VPN especially in Asian countries. It serve both security and privacy but you need to know which one you should choose. Try from some reliable providers.


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If you are on an android device then you can easily access the library of US netflix by using VPN for your android device.


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So, torrent uploaders, be safe. Maybe don't upload anything for a few months or use premium VPNs based in Lithuania such as expressvpn or some other place with very strong privacy laws. AFAIK even FBI can't get user data from VPNs based in Lithuania so, you should be safe.
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