Privacy, Control and the Law

  • Amita Singh


The unresolved problem of governance from antiquity is to have a reasonable balance between citizens’ freedom, their right to privacy and the state authority to restrict them in public interest. The problem largely arises because the jurisdictional boundaries of ‘public interest’ change with times and with governments. However, when terrestrial laws are translated to serve the realm of e-governance, the serious concerns about citizens’ freedom and state control tend to affect the nature of law and the law enforcement agencies. The nations are becoming increasingly jittery with the rising popularity of the social media sites. Many countries in Asia have been indulging into regressive measures of taking extreme steps to block websites or to use bloggers for promoting pro-government information. Data security and protection is a concern for states, but civil liberties are being curtailed for security threats about which one may not be sure about. There has been a deep lack of knowledge and ICT exposure of the judiciary in dealing with cyber cases especially the communication over the social media sites. This chapter suggests a mutual learning process between the executive branches, the police and the prosecutors. In taxation, banking and property transaction the fear is much greater as private information is used to send malicious and maligning emails or the whole government site could be misused by a hacker. As the use of Internet and social media sites becomes more popular, the dangers may also deepen and become more acute which a traditional and patriarchal form of bureaucracy may not be apt to attend to. As this is relatively a younger area of governance which is bringing in a new breed of technical administrators and cyber lawyers, it is also demanding in the sense that the Internet is not a simple telephone network but it is a network of networks, a drastically cross winding tubular world of digitised and coded information. Once the information sets on its journey, it is just impossible to stop its automated movement from nodes to nodes. While to some extent, regulations may be unavoidable, any negligence on this front may also send innocents to the gallows. Thus the issue is to see whether the regulation should come from the United Nation’s agency or the address allocating companies or precisely just ‘self-regulation’. The debate has just begun and the solution is nowhere in sight. The present chapter looks into such challenges for the state in ensuring citizens’ privacy without compromising on public safety, security and free expression. The future of e-governance largely depends upon the use of Internet by more and more people rather than scaring them away from the net.


Internet Protocol Domain Name System Social Media Site Section 295A World Summit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amita Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Law and GovernanceJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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