The editorial “The land of the not so free” (April 21) was timely and insightful. The grievance is not against the government's genuine concerns over cyber terrorism and the mischievous use of social networking sites by some users. The IT (Amendment) Act and the related rules are far more intrusive than the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, enacted during the British rule. A policeman or a government official can snoop on anyone's telephone, read e-mails and monitor websites and intermediaries without a warrant from a magistrate under the IT Act. Unlike the Telegraph Act, an official snooping on someone's phone or reading e-mails of others under the IT Act need not be concerned about actionable public emergency and public interest. Although the intention is pious, the passage of the amended IT Act should not be allowed to become a convenient weapon in the hands of unscrupulous politicians or overzealous bureaucrats.
Any form of censorship on the content posted over the internet should be condemned. The internet is the easiest platform to channel one's thoughts and invoke a quick response. The recent case of a professor being jailed for forwarding a cartoon on Mamata Banerjee is highly disturbing. Any effort to curb the right to freedom of free speech is against the spirit of democracy.