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Wifi Restrictions and Internet

This post would be talking about WIFI restrictions and Internet.

About a week back the GOI issued a notice on the DOT website. The notice is as follows :-

Government of India
Ministry of Communications and IT
Department of Telecommunications

Public Notice

In order to prevent misuse of Wi-Fi connectivity for Internet access by unauthorized users, all Telecom service providers have been directed to implement centralized Authentication procedure for Internet subscribers.

All Internet and broadband subscribers using Wi-Fi connectivity are required to get themselves registered with the respective Telecom Service Providers for completing the centralized authentication procedure within 60 days from the publication of this notice.

Further details may be obtained from the respective Telecom Service Providers or the website http://www.dot.gov.in

You can find the same notice at Department of Telecommunications website

There has been some feedback on this in few circles. For e.g. Medianama , a reputed blog which is into analyzing media news in India wrote this piece.

Now this is part of an ongoing series of legislations which has been in India, please refer this as well as this .

Now while clearly it is an intrusion of privacy, they have taken the guise of saving us from “misuse of Wi-Fi connectivity for Internet access by unauthorized users” so as to speak terrorists.

The evidence till date has been the opposite, in the recent attacks they used satellite Internet and used the local wifi network to send us congratulatory e-mails.

If I was one of those dreaded bearded guys I would also go through a similar route, clearly the attempt is at something more than preventing unauthorized users.

I’m sure people have as many theories as can be behind the motivations of such a notice. While I do not want to theorize the motivations behind it, I do see it penalizing those who are the good ones. The anti-social elements have more than enough ways and means to get around the system.

The more pertinent question for me is

a. why does the government of the day want all Wi-Fi users of Internet to be registered.?

b. Are we going to be like Iran and other repressive regimes where only the government decides what news is to be publicized and what news to give?

Incidentally Reporters sans Frontiers published their annual report about Press Freedom in different countries and these kind of initiatives of the government would make us lower still.

This IMHO is clearly ‘big brother’ watching tactics and civil society doesn’t know/care/afraid take your pick.

I also have another query, as this is a notification are there ways this can be challenged ? If so, how ? Also have there been precedents of any notifications which have been challenged ? If yes, who, where and how was it done ?

Looking forward to people’s views and discussions on the matter.

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