Pramod Biligiri's Blog

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The Twitter revolution
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I have been hazily following the protests in Iran after the current President was declared re-elected in a landslide. People are demonstrating against the result in large numbers in the capital Tehran, and the government has put severe restrictions on media coverage, arrested journalists and bloggers.

Twitter has come out a hero yet again (after the Mumbai blasts) because Iranians are using the IranElection channel (stream?) to post the latest updates about the protests. So much so that when Twitter wanted to take the system down for 90 minutes to do scheduled maintenance, the US government requested them not to do that, in order to help Iranian citizens.

Of course, the US government has no business meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and I hope they don't start to aggressively control Internet companies. But this does show that the Internet is the last public bastion of free speech.

If you are an Indian, I urge you to strongly reject in principle any government regulation of free speech on the Web. In particular, we must ensure that people are allowed to freely upload and access content that is offensive: pornography, racism, secession, inciting violence, denigrating political and religious on.

Sigh, somehow I have the sinking feeling that the State is going to clamp down on all of the above, and since they'll begin by picking on fringe kooks, we won't bother to care :|

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I'm still confused about the utility of Twitter. At times it seems so useful for real-time information (of course sifting through the detritus is difficult), but for the most part it feels rather frivolous.

I wonder why Twitter agreed to the USG? I think it's a bad precedent.

Even I have no use for twitter, but lots of people seem to like posting random thoughts at odd times :P

Guess you probably missed it but the IT act of India is undergoing revision and it includes clauses for the IT ministry and a few others to not only request for block of any Internet resource but also obtain private data on the users..

I did read about something about this in ToI two weeks ago and the new law sounded terrible. In general I don't think Indian government is efficient enough to use any of these to catch criminals or stop terrorists. But these laws are handy when the government wants to take revenge on some citizen for putting pornography or politically offensive content.

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