Today, as India celebrates its 77th Independence Day, the Internet Freedom Foundation completes 7 years since our first public post.
It’s been an eventful year for digital rights, as always. Independence Day, along with being a moment to celebrate, is also an opportunity to reflect on what has been, and hope for what will be. Today, there is also much to be concerned about. Millions of people in the state of Manipur have been under an internet shutdown for over 100 days now. The Monsoon Session of Parliament saw the enactment of the disappointing and alarming Digital Personal Data Protection Act and the Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, which seeks to track citizens from cradle to grave. In a massive development, the Minister for Home Affairs introduced three key bills that overhaul the entire framework of criminal justice. In Haryana, the internet has been suspended in certain districts for close to two weeks in response to communal violence. Last month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released a consultation paper to regulate and selectively ban OTT communication services which could threaten their integrity and access to them.
Clearly, a lot is happening and it can feel hopeless, helpless, and scary.
For almost a decade, it is our community that has been at the core of our work, driving our efforts. And we promise to continue to keep fighting. IFF was born 7 years ago on Independence Day and we draw our core values and beliefs from the same spirit that drove the struggle for independence. When we say we fight for your privacy, your right to freedom of speech, for net neutrality, for innovation, what we’re fighting for is your right to self-determination and control over your destiny, on and offline.