Torrent Blackout:Hackers down Reliance “Big” Time, and counting !!!

Online hacker group Anonymous pulled down the Reliance Big Entertainment (RBE) website today  after targeting websites of the Supreme Court of India and the All India Congress Committee on Thursday to protest Internet censorship. With a few hours the followers of the @opindia(opindia_revenge) shot up to around 1000 where followers comenting:

Anish Jain ‏@Anish9500: @sreyo @opindia_revenge the govt. will lose. Egypt lost,Libya lost. The present Sonia Gandhi govt. will too.
Chirag Advani ‏@ChiragAdvani: @opindia_revenge You’ve got 1000 followers(and increasing) in few hours. This shows how tired we are from this Govt.
Shreyo ‏@sreyo: there’s a war going on between @opindia_revenge and those who r behind banning websites and services. dis day had 2 come sometime & its now.
Vidyut ‏@Vidyut: Reliance should partner with #TPB instead of blocking. They have too many fans to manage distribution on their own. :p@opindia_revenge
TomJerry ‏@TomJerrTJ: @opindia_revenge http://rbe.co.in is down again, the root cause of censorship of my torrent sites. I wish you keep attacking 24hours 😛

Anonymous launched Operation India with a tweet that said, “Namaste #India, your time has come to trash the current government and install a new one. Good luck.”

A YouTube video uploaded on May 15 by user Sen0nymous, titled ‘Operation India Engaged’, issued a call to action for fellow hackers. The video stated, “It has been known that the Government of India and its ministers are committing aristocracy. The idea of democracy remains an idea only.”

“We were and are watching closely all activities of the Government and its ministers. Many ministers were and are charged with severe cases of corruption. They do not care. They do not care for the injustice happening. They do not care for the freedom being snatched.”

“The Government has been covering up its activities and hiding the facts from its citizens. It has imposed the IT Act which allows it to censor the internet as it seems fit. None other than the Department of Telecommunications needs to be blamed. One cannot block on purview of security concerns.”

On Thursday afternoon, the websites of the Supreme Court (supremecourtofindia.nic.in) and the All India Congress Committee (aicc.org.in) were attacked and taken down. The Supreme Court’s portal was back after a few hours, but the hackers said AICC will remain down the whole day.

The Twitter account for Operation India, @opindia_revenge, claimed it had also targeted the website of the Department of Telecommunications (dot.gov.in), but it was quickly back.

Similarly, Sen0nymous reported that the Delhi government’s portal (delhi.gov.in) had been targeted , but it was back soon after.

The attacks come after the government asked Internet Service Providers to block websites such as The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site, as well as video-sharing service Vimeo among others.

Anonymous is a disbanded group of unknown hackers spread across the globe. The international ‘hacktivist’ group has previously attacked the US Department of Justice, US Copyrights Office, Sony Playstation Network, FBI and Egyptian government websites, among others.

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Indian cyber law miles behind the realities of social media

Need to amend Information Technology Act, 2000 to put it in sync with the requirement of times

The last few months has seen a lot of hectic activity in India in the context of legal issues around social media. Last year, the statement by the Union minister Kapil Sibal pertaining to pre-moderation of social media generated a lot of flak.

President of Cyberlaw.net, Advocate in Supreme Court of India and Asia’s leading cyber law authority Pavan Duggal, writes in his column in Financial Chronicle (http://www.mydigitalfc.com): 

I think there is an inherent problem if you’re going in the direction of over regulation of social media. India has to realise that the Arab Spring revolution had some learning for countries. If you try to stifle social media and stifle freedom of speech and expression therein, the chances of social media having a tremendous impact upon political and social institutions of the country cannot be ruled out. Instead, social media players need to be made clearer of what could be examples of online defamation or online harassment.

I believe Indian cyber law is miles behind the reality of social media and there is need for amending the Information Technology Act, 2000 to bring it in sync with the requirements of present times.

The approach towards more regulation of social media has to give way to more balanced realisation that first allows us put our house in order. Let’s look at our own Information Technology Act, 2000, that was last amended in 2008. There is sea of change in technology since then. The said law is not at all well equipped to deal with the several nuances pertaining to social media, social media crimes, mobile security, mobile privacy, data protection, and more importantly, cloud computing. The ball lies in the court of the Indian government.

Read the full column: http://www.mydigitalfc.com/it-enabled-services/indian-cyber-law-miles-behind-realities-social-media-549

‘tarikh pe tarikh’..Is it that difficult to disagree with the Supreme Court or its judgement?

Karnataka steelmakers as SC adjourns case, again for the 13th time !!

And this is what I want to ask today. Is it wrong to disagree with the Supreme Court in India? Why is it that disagreeing with a SC order or the way its proceedings are held, in a specific case or in general, are taken as a contempt of the judiciary in India? Also, the demons of ‘contempt of court’ if we say anything against the court or its order, has to be taken out. Else, we are not free.

March 30 was a regular day in the Supreme Court of India with many cases heard and many deferred. One of the cases was of the steel-makers in Karnataka crying for iron ore supply in order to sustain steel production. On that day, the Supreme Court of India adjourned the hearing of the iron ore mining case for the 13th time.

Out of the 27 times that the case was listed in the Supreme Court, the hearing has been deferred 13 times. Means nearly every second hearing was deferred/adjourned or whatever legal jargon you want to give. (PS: Dear Supreme Court, I am in complete knowledge of your guidelines for court reporters and let me assure you that I am not a court reporter).

Out of these 13 adjournments, five have happened consecutively since February 24, the latest one being the one on March 30. On March 16, the hearing was adjourned as one of the judges wasn’t available and March 23 hearing was adjourned because the CEC panel failed to submit its report to the SC bench.  The Supreme Court, in a notice on its website on March 14, said,

“Due to non-availability of Honourable Mr Justice Aftab Alam for hearing forest bench matters, special bench comprising of Honourable The Chief Justice, Honourable Mr Justice Aftab Alam and Honourable Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar for hearing the matter will not sit on Friday, the 16 March 2012.”

This case is a matter of national importance and the stakes are high. And even though nearly half of the scheduled hearings getting cancelled due to one reason or the other, companies/stakeholders/everyone who is affected by this, are keeping their mouth shut fearing a showdown by the SC. The companies are silent. They are scared that whatever they may say will be taken against them by the SC.

So, is it that even the SC, the guardian of citizens’ rights in this country doesn’t tolerate freedom of expression/speech even when its done keeping in mind all the clauses of the constitution? Is it that difficult to disagree with the Supreme Court or its judgement?

The steel industry in Karnataka is again staring at a near shut down situation because of these delays. Steel-makers say that the CEC, in its report to the SC, recommended category ‘A’ mines to function as no illegalities were found there. ” All we are asking the SC to consider this recommendation as soon as possible so that the steel production can carry on,” they say.

So, I ask the question again. Till when are we going to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the stark realities that face us? The argument that Indian courts are over-worked with millions of cases pending, is valid. But, such cases where the future of our economic development depends, can’t be left to such frequent adjournments.

Currently, with no solution in sight, only a “few” months iron ore supplies are left in the state. Over half of the sponge iron makers in Karnataka have already drawn shutters and rest are bleeding money profusely in the hope of a judgement. The mega steel plants in the state, too, are slowly cutting production. The total steel capacity in Karnataka is 16 million tonne, of that 3 million tonne is sponge iron. Most of this sponge iron production has been shut down and steel plants are running at low capacities.

(courtesy: BlogAdda & A Day In My Life)