In this new episode of 'Ban in India', the Indian government follows its previous footsteps and this time makes a big leap by banning the concept of privacy altogether in India. Ahh, my previous statement might be an exaggeration, as some legal experts might point out, but hey, it's still a significant attack on the average Joe's privacy. Let's conclude the news to the best of my capabilities: The Indian government has ordered all the apps that provide encrypted messaging in India must have at least one of their employees on Indian soil. This ensures that whenever the Indian authorities want any information about any user, they can easily obtain it by asking that particular individual. So, the Indian authorities are clearly asking for a backdoor. Furthermore, the authority states that apps that fail to comply will be banned from operating in India.
This request/order/threat from the Indian side seems quite foolish. Let's momentarily set aside the issues of privacy and backdoors and consider this: You are a small company that provides encrypted messaging to users, and you don't have the financial resources to establish a presence in India. But now, the Indian government wants you to have an employee on Indian land! This incurs additional expenses. And how is a small company from france with 5 employees in total going to afford that?
Let's revisit the news aspect again. What's amusing, and as people like Mental Outlaw on YouTube have already pointed out, is that Indian authorities are justifying this decision by claiming it will prevent terrorism. Really? I understand that terrorism is a serious matter, but really? Do you believe that banning encrypted messaging apps will solve terrorism? In a country like India, more people die from potholes than from terrorism. Why not focus on addressing that issue instead? or maybe terrorists also use road for travell and stuff why not ban roads too?
As if that wasn't enough, Jack Dorsey, accused Indian authorities of threatening to shut down Twitter and raid its employees if Twitter fails to ban the accounts demanded by Indian authorities during the farmer protests.
When even a prominent figure like Jack Dorsey couldn't protect himself from the intimidating behavior of Indian authorities, one can only imagine the challenges faced by smaller apps with a limited user base trying to operate in India.
The Indian government is invading its citizens' privacy. Yes, so what? Who cares?
As a nation, Indian citizens are preoccupied with different topics (which I'm too scared to mention here). The average Indian Joe doesn't prioritize privacy, encryption, or related matters. Just a year ago, the Indian government used the spy software, umm... what was it called? Ah yes! The Pegasus spyware, to surveil political opponents, critics, and journalists. But hey, I'm not aware of any widespread protest. Now they are banning encrypted apps... and I don't see many people discussing it either. Hell, we wouldn't have known about India banning these secure messaging apps if it weren't for the Western media/youtube channels bringing it to our attention.
Anyways, even though not many people read my blog, I'm still afraid to share this piece on my webpage. I've tried to be as polite as possible, but in India, people often label others as anti-national without a second thought. Maybe some ultra-intellectual will read this blog and say: 'You are anti-national. How dare you complain about the decision to ban these apps when our government clearly stated that these apps are being used by terrorists for communication? Why do you need privacy? What do you want to hide?'. To that I would say "Ask your lords to ban roads too then. If there are no roads there are no bomb blasts in cars running on road either."