Dear Prasanth,

Thank you for the update - I learned a lot listening to you, as well as 
Anya, speak about this about WCI. Is there anything we could do other 
than as individuals - which is to say, is there anything that the 
Wikimedia institutions can do? (the chapter, the Foundation, etc.) I 
guess we would then have to ask each entity whether they are comfortable 
with doing something here, but if there is, would there be a benefit in 
having institutional support?


On Monday 21 November 2011 06:47 PM, Prasanth Sugathan wrote:
> Dear Wikipedians,
> This email is the result of the stimulating discussions that I have 
> had over three days with members of the Wikipedia community at the 
> Wiki Conference India 2011 in Mumbai. The kind of enthusiasm that was 
> visible across the spectrum of participants – and it indeed was a wide 
> spectrum from 10 year old editors to representatives from various 
> language communities to persons with disabilities - has prompted me to 
> write this letter to the community members appealing them to extend 
> their support to the campaign to ensure that the ecosystem for 
> Wikipedia – which is first and foremost a free/open Internet - 
> survives in India.
> The threat to free/open Internet is REAL in India. The new Information 
> Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011 threaten to curtail 
> our freedom on the Internet. As the demonstrations over the map issue 
> outside the venue during the conference showed, there could indeed be 
> threats to the way the community operates in India. These threats have 
> multiplied manifold by the notification of these rules.
> *How do the rules operate ?*
> The rules, at first look, seem innocuous, as it provides a set of 
> guidelines for intermediaries to operate in India. But, when you look 
> deeper, the rules are essentially a control on the users and a 
> coercion on the intermediaries to implement those controls. The rules 
> require the intermediary (Wikipedia will fall under the definition of 
> the intermediary) to enforce a set of terms and conditions on their 
> users. This includes asking the users not to post any content that 
> will beconsidered as g*rossly harmful*, harassing, *blasphemou**s*, 
> *defamatory*, *obscene*, pornographic, paedophilic, *libellous*, 
> invasive of another's privacy, *hateful*, or racially, ethnically 
> objectionable, *disparaging*, relating or encouraging money laundering 
> or gambling, *threatening friendly relations with foreign states*, or 
> otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever. Thus any editor who posts a 
> content on a historical event, a person or anything that could be 
> perceived to come under this wide list could be courting trouble.
> The critical provision of the rules is that anyone who is not happy 
> with any content that is posted on the intermediary site, and this 
> could include a person who is upset with a map or a description of a 
> historical event or person, could write to the intermediary asking 
> them to remove the content. The intermediary on getting such a request 
> is mandated to comply with the request within a period of 36 hours. 
> The rules neither require the complainant to produce a court order, 
> nor does it give an opportunity for a content creator to reply to such 
> a demand. The intermediary who does not comply with such a request 
> loses the safe-harbour 
> <> protections that 
> it otherwise enjoys. Such a mechanism threatens the well-honed, time 
> tested procedure of content creation in the Wikipedia and exposes the 
> Wikipedia to legal actions.
> *Questions of privacy*
> The Wikipedia community includes a large number of users who use 
> pseudonyms and their information is protected as per the privacy 
> policy <> of 
> Wikipedia. The rules could force Wikipedia, on getting a written 
> request from a Government agency authorised under the rules to divulge 
> information of the user, including facts like IP addresses from which 
> the user posted. As the rules do not mandate a court order for gaining 
> access to private information of users and only require a written 
> request, as against an elaborate procedure in the case of Internet 
> monitoring or telephone tapping, this threatens the right to privacy 
> of Wikipedia editors.
> We, as a community of Internet users have to ensure that our freedom 
> on the internet- to use it as a platform for public discourse, as a 
> means of knowledge dissipation- is not curtailed in any manner by such 
> draconian rules. I request you to be a part of the campaign to get 
> these rules amended by signing this *online petition 
> <>*,
> by writing to your MP and by spreading this message through Facebook, 
> Google Plus, Twitter, <> and in every 
> possible manner to Indian citizens ….
> Warm regards,
> Prasanth Sugathan
> Legal Counsel,
> Software Freedom Law Center
> K-9 Second Floor, Birbal Road,
> Jangpura Extension,
> New Delhi-110014
> Phone# +91-11-43587126 <tel:%2B91-11-43587126>
> Cell: +91 9013585902 <tel:%2B91%209013585902>
> <>
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