Over the past couple of months, we have been experiencing the blows of Internet censorship in the country. Hacking group, Anonymous who have been putting their message favouring Internet freedom across quite clearly had declared that on June 9 they will be holding a peaceful protest against Internet censorship under OpIndia (Occupy India). Reports say that about 350 students and professionals will join this protest by Anonymous. The hacking group describes itself as a ‘decentralized network of individuals focused on promoting access to information, free speech, and transparency with no central point of contact.’ The peaceful protest in Mumbai will be held at Azad Maidan, Churchgate at 4 pm.

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Protest against Internet censorship..

On the group’s official blog page, the June 9 schedule has been put down, along with a set of directives, which the group claims are a must and should be adhered to, during the peaceful protest. The directives, as mentioned on the blog, include:

  • The protest is a Non-Violent one.
  • Protesters may not use vehicles to protest as this may cause accidents, please keep vehicles out of the protest crowd.
  • One shall not keep any harmful items like weapons, stones etc with oneself.
  • Those who can wear the Guy Fawkes Mask. Printable version is available on the web. 
  • Please bring placards, banners etc that you can prepare so for the cause.
  • For whom it is possible bring cameras and record events. Use your smart phone to stream it online using ustream. This will give us proof if something bad is attempted at the protest.
  • Fire or burning at all of any figures or material is to NOT be done.
  • Please hand over anyone who causes violence to the police.
  • Protest well, our future may depend on it.

A lot of netizens are supporting the cause and have signed up for the protest via social networking sites. These protests have been planned across Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Indore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Calicut, Ahmedabad and Kundapur and is tentative in other cities of Uttar Pradesh, Nagpur, Chennai, Jaipur, Mysore and Thiruvananthapuram.

OpIndia is against the banning of entire websites, if only a part of the website infringes copyrights. Last year, we saw communications minister Kapil Sabil demand pre-screening of content online and companies, like Facebook and Google being caught in a legal limbo over content posted online. Recently, Reliance acquired John Doe orders to safeguard copyrights of its films. Then, Chennai-based Copyright Labs also acquired the same for movies like Dhammu and 3. This led to the complete blocking of websites, like The Pirate Bay and Vimeo. All this hasn’t gone well with Anonymous, which stands by online freedom. Hence, the protest. Restricted freedom of Internet has been an issue in several nations across the world, and has now started building in a democracy, like ours. There are enough reasons why we should join this protest.

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