Why India can’t have its WikiLeaks

Don't expect a Julian Assangne clone to start a desi version of WikiLeaks on Indian soil anytime soon. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the reasons. The government can instantly block such a site. 

And the penalties are gargantuan. Supreme Court advocate Pavan Duggal, who specialises in cyber law, points out that starting a site like WikiLeaks could make you liable to paying a fine of up to Rs 5 crore per contravention under the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008. 

You can also attract criminal liability of three to ten years in jail under various statutes and the Indian Penal Code. If that doesn’t kill your urge to blow the whistle online, you should also consider the burden of liability you could attract. Or the possible raids on your home and office premises, besides the likelihood of the state agencies restraining the distribution and transmission of a potential leak. 

Theoretically, though, it is possible for someone from India to set up a WikiLeaks-inspired site. “The Internet allows you to host content anywhere and view it in India. It will have to be hosted elsewhere in the world, and out of reach of the Indian law and political pressure,” says Nikhil Pahwa, editor, MediaNama, a website that analyses the digital media space in India. Trouble can erupt the moment you want to fulfil the website’s raison d’etre — getting hits. 

“You would get into trouble the instant you start publicising yourself as the owner of such a site,” says web pioneer and technology blogger Rajesh Jain. Agrees Aniruddha Bahal, who runs the investigative online journal Cobra- Post.com. “It is difficult but not impossible to run such a site in India. But half your time will probably be spent in battling the home ministry,” he says. 

Jain suggests that it is easier to use an already existing platform like WikiLeaks than to set up one of your own. But not all are convinced with the WikiLeaks format. “It’s interesting. It’s also the first time in world history that such a quantum of information is being released in one go. But I believe too much in editorial filtering to go for something as raw as WikiLeaks,” says Bahal. 

Government sites also keep getting breached. The more such chinks get exposed, the stronger will be the voices demanding close scrutiny and preventive actions against the growing tribe of hacktivists.

LINK : Yahoo.com