We strongly felt that the rights of internet users needed a voice in court, as complex issues of net neutrality, online privacy and licensing of online platforms were being considered. The Supreme Court noted merit in our application and added us to the case, which allows us to make oral and written submissions. This was made possible thanks to the wonderful legal representation provided by Mr. K. V. Vishwanath, Senior Advocate, who was assisted by team of advocates including Mr. Nikhil Nayyar, Ms. Vrinda Bhandari, Mr. Sai Vinod, Mr. Mukunda Rao, Mr. Ravi Raghunath, and Mr. T. V. S. Raghavendra Sreyas.
Our application for intervention proceeds on two main grounds.
Every internet user in India needs to be able to protect their rights when using online platforms, particularly with respect to their data. We are concentrating on building arguments to safeguard user privacy for metadata.
We have been stating since the time of the March 2016 TRAI consultation on Net Neutrality and Over the Top Services that trying to force licensing of online platforms will be very harmful in various ways. Licensing online services under the Telegraph Act—like telecom companies—will bring in a license raj for the internet, increasing barriers to using the internet and impacting the rights of citizens.
We firmly believe that India needs to protect privacy in law and ensure we have an enforceable data protection regime. You can read more on this in our intervention application, which has been quoted and published by Legally India. The case is now adjourned to 15 May 2017.
This is the second litigation action in which IFF has engaged, the first being in the Delhi High Court on the right to be forgotten. IFF promises to keep advocating for your Internet freedoms—freedom of speech, privacy, net neutrality and freedom to innovate, inside and outside court.