Until the last week, he was more famous as the man who brought to the world, the $35 laptop. And today, he is a laughing stock, not only amongst us Indians, but also in tech blogs worldwide. Even Engadget (Link) is reporting this as a shameful initiative. And if we go by the trending hashtags of Twitter in India, you will find the top 5 to be pointing towards Mr. Kapil Sibal’s idiocy. This is a Harvard and St.Tephen’s alumni we’re talking about, who is now the Minster of Communications and IT in India. What made Mr.Sibal turn on his own head to become Mr.Scissorshands with the Internet?
I cannot decide if the initiative announced by Mr.Sibal to censor “the internet” is more stupid, or is it the incident which triggered this initiative which deserves a place on the stupid-er throne. He picked a post that targeted Sonia Gandhi, to be the reason why he wants the internet in India to be screened, censored and then released for the public. Now, I am not speaking in favour of anyone’s motive to malign a public figure. But across the world, we have a lot of “I hate abc” and “I love abc” clubs. The fact that a public figure like Sonia Gandhi has been picked on, and Mr.Sibal feels the need to censor the entire fucking internet in India is beyond me (well, I know his motive, well, sort of). So, here is my open letter to Mr Sibal.
@Mr Kapil Sibal :
I will try to keep it simple, and for your understanding, will present it to you in the form of bullet points.
#1. The internet, as they showed in the IT Crowd, is not a simple box. So, if you want an initiative to scan through the whole internet, please get a reality check. Here are some stats for a starter.
There are 48 hours of YouTube video uploaded every minute, and 250 million tweets are generated per day. (Source: Labnol).
And that is just two websites. We are forgetting user generated forums, blogs, self hosted websites, Facebook, YouTube alternatives etc. etc. And oh, there are also proxy servers, and VPN networks to allow people to access anything from anywhere. Is this getting too technical for your liking? Good!
And the fact that you want, not algorithms to scan them through, but actual humans to do it for you is in itself worthy of an applause (sarcasm, check)! Best of luck with that. Perhaps, this might be your new Yuva Naukri Yojna (Youth Employment Scheme).
#2. Censor the internet you say? Why does it give me a deja-vú of what happened in Egypt and Libya? Oh yeah, they did it there, didn’t they? Speaking of blanket filtering of content, isn’t that reminiscent of China’s Internet filters. So, in the largest democracy in the world, are we now opting *that* as a role model?
#3. I would like to point you Mr.Sibal, towards a recently premiered TV series called Black Mirror – it is an interesting watch (review with spoilers here). The premise, is of a YouTube viral video released to the nation (UK). The video features a kidnapped Princess, who is faced with a death threat, and in ransom demand, the PM has to perform an obscene act involving a pig.
Now I know the UK is a different nation altogether, with different political and national sensibilities. But it is still similar in some respects. Like, the UK has its Royal family, and the Congress would like to believe the Gandhi family is India’s political royalty. But there is more to take in from this TV series.
The government tries to take down the ransom video from YouTube, but with every single video taken down, 6 clones would be uploaded the very next minute. This goes to show, that unlike traditional media, the internet is beyond territorial regulations, and can be made available from anywhere across the world. So, if you think that you can censor the internet with India, how are you going to control the millions of Pravasi Bhartiyas from creating another Facebook page?
#4. Last but not the least, Sonia Gandhi is a public figure. She might be an icon to the Congress, but she is just another democratically elected Member of the Parliament for me and the 1.2 billion Indians. So the whole objective of censoring internet to be triggered by this so called “I Hate abc” page, just goes to show the seriousness of your concern towards the Indian democracy.
I hope you read this, and I hope that you release an apology letter soon. I also hope that your trending hashtag finishes its innings sooner than Rakhi Sawant’s last breaking news. I miss Chetan Bhagat on my twitter hashtag.
An online Indian.