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Freedom on the Net

Freedom on the Net 2017

India

Country Profile

Status: 
Partly Free
Image Graph showing the Selected Country Flag

Internet Freedom Scores

(Freedom on the Net Score:
0=Most Free, 100=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Population: 
1.32 billion
Internet Penetration: 
29.6%
Social Media/ICT Apps Blocked: 
Yes
Bloggers/ICT Users Arrested: 
Yes
Press Freedom Status: 
Partly Free
Key Developments: 

June 2016–May 2017

  • Internet access and speeds improved (see Availability and Ease of Access: Key Indicators).
  • Local authorities ordered temporary telecommunication service shutdowns in at least 37 separate reported incidents (see Restrictions on Connectivity).
  • Officials ordered service providers in the Kashmir valley to block 22 social media sites for a month, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp (see Blocking and Filtering).
  • Over 20 people were detained for online comments about religion or political issues ranging from a water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to a demonetization policy intended to combat corruption; a Kashmiri was held for several weeks in Chhattisgarh for sharing an “anti-India” cartoon (see Prosecutions and Detentions for Online Activities).
  • The Supreme Court recognized privacy as a fundamental right in a landmark ruling in August 2017 (see Surveillance, Privacy and Anonymity).
Introduction: 

Internet freedom remained stable in 2017 after a decline in 2016. Improving access was offset by network and social media shutdowns ordered by authorities.

The number of internet subscribers and internet penetration increased significantly during the reporting period, as India consolidated its position as the world’s second largest internet consumer base after China. Both governmental and nongovernmental entities made efforts to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that privacy is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution and a committee was set up to frame a data protection framework for India.

However, other developments undermined internet freedom. The number of network shutdowns increased substantially and local authorities ordered service providers to temporarily shut down internet access in at least 37 reported incidents in various states. 

There was also an increase in the number of criminal charges for online speech filed under the IT Act and provisions of the penal code. Many people were detained for content circulated on WhatsApp or published on Facebook, including group administrators who were not responsible for the content.

 

Obstacles to Access:
(Freedom on the Net Score: 0=Most Free, 100=Least Free)

Internet penetration in India continued to increase in 2017 with mobile penetration playing a significant role. Inadequate infrastructure remains a significant obstacle to access, especially in rural areas; however, various governmental and nongovernmental efforts to improve access nationwide are underway. Nearly 40 information communication technology (ICT) shutdowns were ordered by local authorities, some lasting several months in Jammu and Kashmir. The top ten internet service providers (ISPs) still hold almost the entire market share, but strong competition among them continues.

Availability and Ease of Access

Internet access and speeds improved during the reporting period (see Key Access Indicators). India had the second largest number of Internet subscribers in the world after China in 2017, having overtaken the United States.1 Official statistics recorded over 431 million subscribers in June 2017,2 though only 21.6 million had fixed-line internet connections.3 There were an estimated 269 million internet users in urban India and 163 million in rural India in 2016.4

However, internet penetration remains low, reaching 33 percent in June 2017,5 up from 27 percent in June 2016.6 Mobile penetration was much higher, reaching 92 percent by June 2017,7 up from 81 percent the previous year.8 The Broadband Commission ranked India 78 out of 196 countries in terms of mobile broadband penetration,9 up from 156 out of 179 countries the previous year.10

While India’s average connection speed was one of the lowest in Asia,11 it is catching up to the global average, which Akamai documented at 7.2 Mbps in the first quarter of 2017.12 Approximately 34 percent of all internet users had narrowband subscriptions in 2016,13 down from 56 percent in 2015.14 Despite overall growth, India has a relatively low adoption rate for high speed broadband (faster than 10 Mbps), at just 19 percent,15 though this rate grew by 285 percent during the course of 2016.16 The minimum speed required to qualify as broadband in India has been 512 Kbps since 2012,17 though the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended raising the threshold to 2 Mbps.18

The Global Information Technology Report by the World Economic Forum and INSEAD ranked India in eighth place out of 139 countries for affordable internet access in 2016.19 It was previously in first place,20 and per minute cellular and fixed broadband tariffs are still among the lowest in the world.21 While the cheapest internet plans might seem extremely affordable with respect to the average monthly income, India has significant income inequality.22

India ranked 66 out of 137 countries for infrastructure in 2017, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index.23 Though up from 68 the previous year,24 the results suggest poor infrastructure is still an obstacle to access. India ranked a low 88 for electricity supply;25 and 110 for technological readiness, the capacity of a country to fully leverage ICTs in daily activities.26 Only 27 percent of all Indian schools had a computer in 2016.27 That increased to nearly 80 percent at secondary level and above,28 but less than half were connected to the internet.29

Public and private sector initiatives to improve access are underway. The government is developing free public Wi-Fi zones in major cities,30 with some operational in the past year.31 In January 2017, the Maharashtra government activated 500 Wi-Fi hotspots across the city of Mumbai,32 though further expansion fell short, and they were only free until August 2017.33 During the coverage period of this report, Google partnered with the public sector company RailTel to provide free Wi-Fi at train stations,34 connecting 100 by the end of 2016.35 Over 5 million people were using the service every month.36

The government’s Digital India Programme, launched in 201437 is expected to be implemented by 2018.38 It aims to connect India’s gram panchayats, institutions of self-government in rural areas, via fiber-optic cables,39 ensuring universal broadband access with accompanying e-literacy programs. Internet-connected common service centers (CSCs) aim to cover all 250,000 gram panchayats;40 as of March 2016, 157,000 had been established, with 20,000 operated by women.41 The program proposes to use satellites, balloons, or drones to push faster digital connections to remote parts of the country,42 as well as multiple system operators such as cable TV services, which already have last-mile connectivity.43 As a result of the program, electronic transactions related to e-governance projects almost doubled in 2015.44

Such initiatives took on new significance during the coverage period, which saw a major push to digitize financial transactions. The government demonetized currency notes in the denominations of INR 500 and INR 1000 (US$7.5 and $15) in November 2016; the notes made up over 85 percent of the total currency in circulation.45 A Digi Dhan Abhiyan program was designed to promote digital payments to more than ten million inhabitants of rural areas,46 reaching 2.5 million people by the end of the year.47 The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) also announced an alliance with Google to raise awareness of digital security surrounding payments.48

Language remains a barrier to access. With 22 official languages, only about 12 percent of the population of India speaks English,49 yet more than half the content available online is in English,50 and over 100 languages were unrepresented online in 2013.51 Projects to encourage local language usage are underway. In 2014, the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), which operates and manages Indian domain names, launched the Dot Bharat domain for local language URLs.52 By April 2017, the number of local language users in India had overtaken the number who rely on English.53 One study showed that nearly 70 percent of Indian internet users consider local language content to be more reliable than English content.54 In April 2017, Google partnered with a local business federation to develop content in Indic languages.55

Studies have shown that economic and social conditions result in barriers to internet access for women, and only 29 percent of Indian internet users were female in 2015.56 Internet usage was lower among rural women (25 percent), though it had grown by 30 percent since 2015.57 Twenty-four percent of Indian Facebook users were women, well below the global average of forty-four percent, according to one calculation.58 Internet Saathi, a partnership between Google and Tata Trusts to promote digital literacy among rural women, was active in 25,000 villages across 10 states by October 2016,59 training more than 500 participants a week.60

Restrictions on Connectivity

The Indian government does not routinely block the protocols or tools that allow for instant, person-to-person communication, although local authorities around India have restricted ICT connectivity and usage during times of perceived unrest since at least 2010.61

The frequency, geographic distribution, and duration of these shutdowns have increased significantly in the past three years. During the coverage period of this report, authorities ordered providers to restrict local mobile phone, SMS, wireless, and occasionally fixed-line internet service in at least 37 reported incidents, which lasted for hours, weeks, or even months at a stretch.62

Local authorities have justified these orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (1973), which permits broad state action to curb any violation of law and order.63 The Gujarat High Court upheld the use of this general law to order shutdowns in September 2015.64 The Supreme Court is yet to consider the matter substantively and refused a petition challenging it in early 2016.65

Other laws used to justify shutdowns also lack specificity. Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, which permits the central government to order website blocks (see Limits on Content) has been consideredto apply to blocking of service. Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, which allows state and central authorities to order that any message not be transmitted in public emergencies, has also been cited in support of service disruptions.66 State officials in Odisha suspended service for 48 hours under the Telegraph Act after content considered to derogate Hindu deities resulted in violence.67

In August 2017, outside the coverage period of this report, the Department of Telecommunications of the Central Government issued new rules under the Telegraph Act to regulate the temporary suspension of telecom services.68 The rules authorize national or state-level officials to issue temporary suspension orders to shut down telecommunications services in times of public emergency or threats to public safety.69

With at least 12 documented incidents, Jammu and Kashmir continued to be the most affected state. Shutdowns affected both mobile and fixed-line connections, and the longest lasted several months.70

  • In June 2016, mobile internet services were suspended across the state for three days after a temple was vandalized, launching an outbreak of violence.71 They were suspended for a day on a second occasion in the Jammu region because of security fears surrounding an annual wrestling contest hosted on contested land.72

  • In July 2016, security forces shot and killed militant commander Burhan Wani in Kashmir, sparking widespread protests.73 All mobile service providers except BSNL, the state operator, suspended phone service in the Kashmir valley, and all operators suspended mobile internet throughout the state. The phone services were restored after a few days. Mobile internet services were restored in the Jammu region after 17 days. In the Kashmir region, mobile internet for post-paid subscribers remained unavailable for 134 days. Internet was not restored for prepaid subscribers until January 2017, almost 6 months later.74 Broadband internet in the valley was also shut down for 5 days in August due to the ongoing tensions between protestors and security forces.75

  • In September 2016, broadband services across Kashmir were suspended for an additional five days prior to the Eid festival.76

  • In April 2017, both mobile and fixed-line broadband internet services were suspended for a few days in the Kashmir valley when local by-elections sparked unrest. The measure was intended to curb rumors, but had the opposite effect, reports said.77 Mobile internet across the valley was suspended again amid student protests.78 Social media applications were also blocked (See Blocking and Filtering).

Shutdowns were implemented in several more states, including Maharashtra,79 Bihar,80 Odisha,81 Uttar Pradesh,82 and Arunachal Pradesh.83 Haryana and Rajasthan saw at least seven incidents each.84 Haryana shutdowns came in response to ongoing, sometimes violent protests by the Jat caste over their eligibility for government affirmative action quotas.85 In Rajasthan, internet was blocked on at least four occasions in Bhilwara district, once following the murder of a Hindu nationalist activist in September 2016,86 and three times within two weeks in December 2016 after communal violence flared in December 2016.87

The government does not exert much control over the internet infrastructure. Twelve submarine cables connect India to the global internet;88 ten are consortium owned, while the others are private.89 There are gateways to the international internet in Chennai, Mumbai,90 and Agartala in Tripura, which facilitates connectivity in north-eastern states.91 There are four landing stations where the cables meet the mainland in Mumbai, and three in Chennai; Digha, Kochi and Tuticorin also have one cable landing station each.92 BSNL, the state-owned telecom operator, owns two of them; the rest are privately owned. Major telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications own three stations each.93 These cable landing stations imposed hefty fees on ISPs until regulators mandated a reduction in 2013.94 Tata Communications and Airtel challenged that reduction in the Madras High Court. A single judge dismissed it, and an appeal was pending in early 2017.95

Undersea cables are mainstays of mobile and internet communications and any damage to them leads to service disruptions. In December 2016, Cyclone Vardah caused damage to Airtel’s undersea cable at Chennai, slowing internet speeds.96

Over 80 percent of telecommunications towers are privately owned.97 Market share is split between Indus Towers, a joint venture between Bharti Infratel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular (31 percent); BSNL (18 percent); and Reliance Infratel (12 percent), and Bharti Infratel (10 percent) according to 2015 figures.98

ICT Market

There are 157 operational ISPs in India.99 While there is no monopoly, the top 10 ISPs control over 98 percent of the market.100 Thanks to inaugural promotional plans, Reliance Jio made massive gains to achieve the highest ISP market share of 29 percent in 2017;101 it had just one broadband subscriber in December 2015.102 Bharti Airtel fell to second place with 22 percent market share, followed by Vodafone (16 percent), Idea (9 percent) and BSNL (8 percent).103 There are 12 mobile operators,104 with Bharti Airtel controlling almost 24 percent of the market, followed by Vodafone (18 percent), Idea (16 percent) and Reliance Jio (10 percent).105

A universal license framework, for which guidelines were published in November 2014,106 reduced legal and regulatory obstacles by combining mobile phone and ISP licenses. Licensees pay a high one-time entry fee, a performance bank guarantee,107 and annual license fees adjusted for revenue.108

In August 2016, the Cybercafe Association of India (CCAOI) said that 30 percent of venues had closed in the past three years.109 In 2011, the Indian government introduced rules under Section 79 of the IT Act requiring cybercafes to obtain a government-issued ID number in addition to a license, as well as to register and monitor customers.110 Critics said the rules were “poorly framed.”111 Penalties for noncompliance are unclear, and enforcement has reportedly been patchy. Common service centers are exempt, and operate under separate guidelines.112

Regulatory Bodies

Before July 2016, India’s principal ICT institution was the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. It consisted of two departments – the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

In July 2016, the Ministry was divided in two. DeitY became the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), while the DoT and Department of Posts were placed under the Ministry of Communications.113 MeitY formulates policy relating to information technology, electronics, and the internet114 and DoT manages the overall development of the telecommunications sector, licenses internet and mobile service providers, and manages spectrum allocation.115

Internet protocol (IP) addresses are regulated by the Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN).116 Since 2005, the registry has functioned as an autonomous body within the nonprofit National Internet Exchange of India.117

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), an independent regulator, was created in 1997 to regulate the telecommunication, broadcast, and cable TV sectors.118 The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act (TRAI Act) mandates transparency in the exercise of its operations, which include monitoring licensing terms, compliance, and service quality.119 Its reports are published online, usually preceded by a multi-stakeholder consultation.120 An amendment to the TRAI Act in 2000 established a three-member Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal chaired by a former senior judge.121

There are some reservations about the TRAI’s independence.122 Appointment and salary decisions for members remain in the hands of the central government. The TRAI Act initially barred members who had previously held central or state government office, but 2014 amendments diluted that prohibition, allowing them to join the regulator two years after resigning office, or earlier with government permission. Members may undertake commercial employment, though not with telecom service providers.123 TRAI opinions, however, are generally perceived as free of official influence.124 In 2016, it was involved in framing net neutrality regulations prohibiting discriminatory tariffs for data services.125

 

Limits on Content:
(Freedom on the Net Score: 0=Most Free, 100=Least Free)

Content blocking targeting pornography, terrorism, and copyright continued to affect legitimate political and social information during the coverage period, and some content removal by private companies caused controversy. The digital media landscape remained lively and citizens continued to use digital tools to mobilize around important social issues.

Blocking and Filtering

A significant amount of legitimate political and social information was blocked by court or government orders during the reporting period. Since some of those orders are not made public, the exact impact is hard to assess. Entire platforms and services were affected, including the video publishing tool Streamable. Several social media platforms were blocked in an attempt to curtail unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. Separately, courts issued contradictory rulings about copyright blocking, which continues to overreach.

In April 2017, government officials ordered service providers in the Kashmir valley to block 22 social media sites for a month, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.126 Internet services were separately restricted in the state of Jammu and Kashmir at least 12 times during the coverage period (see Restrictions on Connectivity). The social media order was unusual because it was issued under Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, raising issues about its legitimacy.127 Section 5 provides for state or central authorities to order “stoppage of transmission … of messages,”128 but blocking orders fall under the IT Act (see below). Many residents circumvented the restriction using virtual private networks (VPNs).129 Some reports said WhatsApp was subject to a separate, temporary restriction on some connections in the state in August 2016.130

Blocking of websites takes place under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2008 (IT Act) and a 2009 subordinate legislation called the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules (“Blocking Rules”).131 The Blocking Rules empower the central government to direct any agency or intermediary to block access to information when satisfied that it is “necessary or expedient” in the interest of the “sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above.”132 Intermediaries failing to comply are punishable with fines and prison terms of up to seven years.133

The Blocking Rules apply to orders issued by government agencies, who must appoint a “nodal officer” to send in requests and demonstrate that they are necessary or expedient under Section 69A.134 These requests are reviewed by a committee, which includes senior representatives of the law, home affairs, and information ministries, and the nodal agency for cybersecurity, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN).135 The “designated officer,” who chairs the committee, issues approved orders to service providers; the committee must also notify the source or intermediary hosting the content, who may respond to defend it within 48 hours.136 In emergencies, the Secretary of MEITY may issue blocking orders directly under written instruction from the designated officer, but the content must be unblocked if the review committee does not approve them within 48 hours.137

Indian courts can order content blocks without government approval. The designated officer is required to implement the court order after submitting it to the Secretary of MeitY. Court orders can be challenged in a higher court, but internet users are not consistently notified of their implementation.138

ISPs are not legally required to inform the public of blocks and the Blocking Rules mandate that executive blocking orders be kept confidential.139 In the landmark Shreya Singhal case decided by the Supreme Court in 2015, the petitioners challenged the constitutionality of Section 69A citing opaque procedures among other issues.140 The Supreme Court upheld Section 69A and the Blocking Rules,141 saying safeguards were adequate, narrowly constructed, and constitutional.142 But the court read the Blocking Rules to include both the right to be heard and the right to appeal. Blocking orders must now provide a written explanation, allowing them to be challenged by writ petition, and allow for reasonable efforts to contact the originator of the content for a pre-decisional hearing.143 However, the rules continue to require that the orders and actions based on them be kept confidential;144 it is difficult to know the extent of compliance with the judgment.

In October 2016, the government reported blocking a total of 1377 URLs on social media sites since 2013 under Section 69A145 and 1670 social media URLs in compliance with court orders.146 In most cases, there is no information about the content targeted through these orders.

However, at least some blocks issued in the past year were disproportionate. In January 2017, for example, several ISPs blocked Streamable, an online service used by publishers and bloggers to embed video on their own sites.147 One block page cited directions received from the Department of Telecommunications, but the reason was unclear. The restriction did not affect specific content, but would prevent anyone from using the service to share video within India, cutting off a potential revenue source for content professionals.

Judges sought to improve the framework for blocking content under copyright injunctions in 2016, but broad restrictions continued to be observed in 2017. Since 2011, courts have blocked content relating to copyright violations through broad John Doe orders, which can be issued preemptively and do not name a defendant.148 ISPs have occasionally implemented such orders by blocking entire websites instead of individual URLs, irrespective of whether the websites were hosting pirated material.149 The judiciary has noted that John Doe orders can lead to overblocking,150 and activists have called for greater transparency.151

In July 2016, a ruling by the Bombay High Court laid down rules for seeking John Doe orders, limiting blocks to URLs, not entire domains, and allowing all affected content to be unblocked after 21 days if a court order is not obtained.152 The Court also dictated an unambiguous block message and suggested the appointment of an independent ombudsman to oversee implementation.153 Observers hailed this as a progressive and nuanced approach.154 But the ruling did not resolve the issue.155 The same month, the Delhi High Court separately ruled that John Doe orders could continue to be used to block websites completely if more than one page on the site was identified as a potential source of copyright violations. Seventy-three websites were involved in that judgment, not because they were proven to violate copyright, but because the plaintiff had pre-emptively identified them as possible violators of exclusive broadcast rights to cricket matches dating from 2014.156 Other John Doe orders continued to be issued,157 and legitimate content continued to be affected, including the entire Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library that was blocked in August 2017, apparently under a John Doe order.158

The IT Act and the Indian Penal Code prohibit the production and transmission of “obscene material,”159 but there is no specific law against viewing pornography in India, except child pornography, which is prohibited under the IT Act (see Legal Environment).160 Extreme child sexual abuse is blocked based on guidance from INTERPOL,161 but other content restrictions threaten content that has not been found to break the law. The government ordered blocks on more than 220 websites advertising escort services during the reporting period,162 allegedly for promoting prostitution, though it was not clear that any of the sites were under criminal investigation, and officials acknowledged that blocking sites was not an effective way to “solve the problem once and for all.”163 In the case of Kamlesh Vaswani v. Union of India, the petitioner asked the Supreme Court to direct the government to block all online pornography.164 A judgement had not been issued in mid-2017, but the government has informed the Supreme Court that it is not feasible to block pornography entirely and that doing so would violate the constitution.165

Content Removal

Improvements to the framework for intermediary liability mean that less political and social content is subject to removal than in the past. However, takedowns and private censorship by companies still caused concern during the reporting period.

An interim order by the Supreme Court had implications for content removal by private companies. In late 2016, the Court ordered search engines operated by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to “auto-block” advertisements offering services to determine the sex of a child before birth, which contravene a law passed in 1994 in an attempt to stop female feticide. The ruling went further than delisting specific content, asking search engines to block results for specific search terms, and ordering the creation of a nodal agency to oversee the process.166 Critics fear the rulings would restrict related information and breach the Shreya Singhal judgment.167

A 2008 IT Act amendment protected technology companies from legal liability for content posted to their platforms by others, with reasonable exceptions to prevent criminal acts or privacy violations.168 Intermediaries Guidelines issued in 2011 under Section 79 of the IT Act required intermediaries to remove access to certain content within 36 hours of a user complaint.169 The government later clarified this rule.170 In Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, the Supreme Court read down Section 79 and the intermediary guidelines, and companies are no longer required to act on user complaints. Court and government takedown orders, furthermore, are only legitimate if they fall within the reasonable restrictions provided for under Article 19(2) of the constitution. Unlawful content beyond the ambit of Article 19(2) cannot be restricted.171

Based on the ruling, Facebook said it would require more formal notifications to restrict content.172 It restricted 719 items between July and December 2016, citing legal requests from the central government and local law enforcement agencies,173 down from 14,971 items during the equivalent period in 2015.174

Content removal based on alleged violations of Facebook’s community standards still attracted controversy, however, particularly content posted amid protests surrounding the death of a militant in the Kashmir region (see Restrictions on Connectivity).175 In July 2016, Jajeer Talkies, a popular Kashmir-based page that publishes satirical content, was temporarily disabled. Three page administrators also had their profiles disabled, making it harder for them to appeal the action.176 A news video published by a local daily was also removed. Facebook said it removes content about terrorism that does not clearly condemn terrorist organizations or their activities,177 but several academics and journalists were among those temporarily suspended from posting after sharing information about the ongoing crisis.178

Other international companies reported receiving a high number of requests to remove content from Indian courts or government representatives. Google reported receiving 243 content removal requests affecting 543 items between January and June 2016, and said it complied with 35 percent of requests based on court orders and 11 percent from government agencies and law enforcement. The reason most commonly cited for the request was defamation.179 Twitter received 97 requests for content removal from July to December 2016, of which 1 was court ordered and 96 were from police or government agencies, but said it did not comply.180

News reports published in 2017 said that some online video companies were selectively blurring or removing content for Indian audiences. Most examples were explicit, but a scene depicting a cow carcass was also deleted before one show was aired on Amazon Prime.181 Cows have particular status in Hindu mythology (see Digital Activism). There is no legal requirement to remove this content, since the Cinematograph Act, which regulates broadcasts in movie theaters and on television, does not apply online,182 and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has explicitly said it has no plans to censor online media.183 Yet companies such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Apple have streamed censored versions of films within India,184 while hosting uncensored versions elsewhere.185 Company policies supporting this practice are unclear and implementation has been irregular, apparently targeting content that is more likely to appeal to Indian audiences instead of applying consistent standards across the board. Amazon said that it censored content that it perceived to be “culturally sensitive” on Prime.186

Intermediaries can separately be held liable for infringing the Copyright Act 1957,187 under the law and licensing agreements.188 The Shreya Singhal decision has had no impact on the legal framework on intermediary liability for copyright infringement. A 2012 amendment limited liability for intermediaries such as search engines that link users to material copied illegally, but mandated that they disable public access for 21 days within 36 hours of receiving written notice from the copyright holder, pending a court order to remove the link.189 Rules clarifying the amendment in 2013 gave intermediaries power to assess the legitimacy of the notice from the copyright holder and refuse to comply.190 However, critics said the language was vague.191

Media, Diversity and Content Manipulation

Online media content is diverse and lively. The internet has given a voice to people in remote areas, helping them become a part of the public discourse. The Delhi-based company Gram Vaani operates a Mobile Vaani initiative, using an interactive voice response (IVR) system to disseminate reports by mobile phone users to different audiences and stakeholders. It enables over 80,000 households across 12 states to create their own media.192 Some citizens have also turned to digital tools to escape the partisan traditional news media environment. During the reporting period, residents of Tamil Nadu found ways to counter news outlets controlled by major political parties by sharing satire on Facebook and WhatsApp.193

In general, self-censorship is not widespread. Internet users in conflict regions may sometimes avoid addressing sensitive political or religious issues but other journalists and activists report freely. During the ongoing conflict in Kashmir Valley, traditional news outlets even chose to go entirely online in order to cut costs and maintain jobs, a development which heightens the potential threat to freedom of information posed by the state’s frequent internet shutdowns (see Restrictions on Connectivity).194

Demonetization of currency notes in small denominations in November 2016 decreased cash flow across the economy (see Availability and Ease of Access). Analysts said the move had a positive impact on information surrounding elections in the state of Goa by significantly reducing the use of cash bribes for positive news coverage. Instead, candidates campaigned vociferously on social media, helping newer parties without significant financial support.195 The same policy had a less positive effect on internet freedom in Indore, a city of 2 million people in Madhya Pradesh. In an unprecedented move, the District Magistrate issued an order under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure banning any criticism of the demonetization policy on social media considered to be “objectionable” or cause “incitement.”196 There was no information available about the impact of this order, but at least two residents of Madhya Pradesh were detained in relation to digital speech about demonetization (see Prosecutions and Detentions for Online Activity).

Politicians in India have embraced social media, often announcing major policies directly on platforms like Twitter.197 The prime minister is the most followed politician on Twitter in the world after U.S. President Donald Trump,198 and has developed his own application, NMApp, to communicate with followers.199Critics say this helps him avoid engaging directly with journalists who might challenge controversial policies.200

Government employees are encouraged to use social media, but the prime minister warned them not to use social media to promote themselves.201 A proposal to amend a public service code of conduct to include the online behavior of government employees was floated in July 2016.202

While the internet serves as a tool of empowerment for many Indians, however, some trends caused concern in the past year, including allegations of politicized content manipulation. Aggressive online commentators who self-identify as Hindu nationalists routinely abuse their opponents; however, research published during the reporting period said employees of the ruling BJP party orchestrated some of the activity, including threats and abuse targeting women and journalists, in order to create a hostile online environment for people criticizing the government and its leaders.203

BJP politicians have been accused of paying specialized companies to artificially boost their popularity on social media since they were in the opposition in 2013,204 and some party representatives were reported to have paid citizens to post messages of support before their successful 2014 election.205 Rival parties have likewise been accused of secretly sponsoring online support.206 While trolling that appears to align with the BJP agenda has continued under the BJP administration, there is no evidence that government actors are directly involved. Rather, officials’ tacit support of online abuse—evidenced, for example, by the prime minister following known troll accounts on Twitter—contribute to a climate where people who are perceived to oppose popular discourse face intimidation, even while robust political debate continues in many online forums. Online harassment remained widespread during the reporting period (see Digital Activism and Intimidation and Violence).

Initiatives to monitor social media use are periodically reported, and some in the past year involved incidents of violence shared using live video streaming tools.207 The government accused militants of using Facebook Live to instigate violent anti-state activity in the Kashmir Valley,208 and was formulating a social media policy to monitor antinational propaganda and curb malicious rumors in 2017 with particular reference to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.209 Some violent and disturbing events were certainly streamed in that region and beyond. A student in Mumbai took his own life while broadcasting on Facebook.210At the same time, however, protestors also used social media to report on human rights violations by security forces in Kashmir.211 Facebook’s own attempts to limit terrorist content were subject to criticism for failing to adequately distinguish between those who supported violence and those who simply shared information about it (see Content Removal).212

Digital Activism

Digital activism is popular and has resulted in some proven successes on the national scale in the past. Through various campaigns and groups used social media in the reporting period there were no widespread effect.

Some groups successfully leveraged social media to draw national attention to local protests during the reporting period. In August 2016, for example, a video documenting abuse of Dalits in a district of Gujarat launched major protests against discrimination. Dalits are marginalized in the traditional Hindu caste system. With the rise of nationalist politics, vigilante groups characterizing themselves as gau rakshaks (cow protectors) have attacked Dalits and other minorities that consume or handle beef.213 The assailants circulated a video of an attack targeting eight members of a Dalit community who skin cattle for a living as a warning, but protesters used it to ensure national media covered the incident, and subsequently organized demonstrations and a strike using social media and communication apps.214 However, few changes resulted.215

Violations of User Rights:
(Freedom on the Net Score: 0=Most Free, 100=Least Free)

Several arrests for online speech were reported during the coverage period, including for content distributed on WhatsApp and Facebook. Attacks and social sanctions were also reported in reprisal for online information and commentary. In a positive development, the Supreme Court issued a landmark privacy ruling.

Legal Environment

The Constitution of India grants citizens the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression,216 including the right to gather information and exchange thoughts within and outside India.217 Press freedom has been read into the freedom of speech and expression.218 These freedoms are subject to certain restrictions in the interests of state security, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality, contempt of court, defamation, incitement to an offense, and the sovereignty and integrity of India. However, these restrictions may only be imposed under a law, not by executive action.219 The right to privacy has been read into the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution.220 The Supreme Court in a landmark ruling issued outside the coverage period of this report recognized privacy as fundamental right which is protected as intrinsic part of other rights including right to life, liberty and freedom of expression (see Surveillance, Privacy, and Anonymity).221

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalizes several kinds of speech, and applies to online content. Individuals could be punished with between two and seven years in prison for speech that is found to be seditious,222 obscene,223 defamatory,224 “promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language,”225 committing acts “prejudicial to maintenance of harmony,”226 or consisting of statements, rumors, or reports that may cause fear, alarm, disturb public tranquility, or promote enmity or ill will.227 Internet users are also subject to criminal punishment under the Official Secrets Act for wrongful communication of information that may have an adverse effect on the sovereignty and integrity of India.228

The IT Act criminalizes certain online activity such as the creation, transmission or browsing of child pornography.229 Section 67 bans the publication or transmission of obscene or sexually explicit content in electronic form, and Section 66D punishes the use of computer resources to impersonate someone else to commit fraud.

Section 66A, a particularly problematic provision, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015. The provision criminalized information causing "annoyance,” “inconvenience,” or “danger,” among other ill-defined categories and lead to several arrests for social media posts from 2012 through early 2015. The court in the Shreya Singhal judgment230 affirmed that freedom of speech online is equal to freedom of speech offline, and held that Section 66A went beyond reasonable restrictions on that freedom specified in Article 19(2) of the constitution.231 Outstanding prosecutions under the section were dropped,232 but similar complaints continue to be registered under Sections 67, 66D, or the IPC (see Prosecutions and Detentions for Online Activities).

A 2016 Supreme Court judgment upheld laws criminalizing defamation (Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC and Section 119 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) as consistent with the Indian Constitution.233 The sections have been used against online speech in the past.234

Prosecutions and Detentions for Online Activities

More than 20 criminal complaints involving online content were filed during this coverage period, and over a dozen people were detained for sharing content that was considered political or religious actors considered insulting or misrepresentative. This continued the trend described in 2016; before that, the number of detentions fell off slightly following the Supreme Court’s Shreya Singhal ruling on the IT Act (see Legal Environment). However, no convictions were documented in the reporting period.

In one notable case, Taufiq Ahmed Bhatt, a Kashmiri student in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh was arrested on charges of sedition in August 2016, for sharing and responding to “anti-India” posts on social media, including an image representing India as a mouse being swept away by a broom.235 He was in custody until at least October 2016.236 No information was available regarding his case in mid-2017.

In November 2016, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw of the Delhi High Court held that social media group administrators cannot be held liable for content shared by group members,237 an issue that lead to a number of arrests last year.238 In April 2017, however, a District Magistrate and a local police chief in Uttar Pradesh jointly warned that group administrators on social media or messaging apps would be subject to criminal complaints if inaccurate content was shared within the group,239 causing confusion on the issue of liability.240 Officials in Bhagalpur district in Bihar issued a similar warning.241 In May 2017, police in Karnataka detained Krishna Sanna Thamma Naik, the administrator of a WhatsApp group, after a member of a group shared an image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that news reports described as “obscene.” The member responsible was also detained; both were released on bail.242

Several other cases prompted detentions, including the following examples:

  • In September 2016, 32-year-old Tarak Biswas from Kolkata was detained under several Sections of the IT Act for posting objectionable content and insulting religious feelings on Facebook. Biswas describes himself as an atheist and frequently criticizes religion.243

  • In October 2016, police in Karnataka detained three men for posting a video that allegedly depicted residents and leaders from neighboring Tamil Nadu in a bad light. The states were involved in a dispute over the distribution of water from a local river.244

  • In November 2016, police in Madhya Pradesh detained 19-year-old student Abhishek Mishra under Section 469 of the IPC and Section 66C of the IT Act, which pertain to forgery and identity theft, for posting about a demonetization policy intended to combat corruption (see Media, Diversity, and Content Manipulation). The post included a photo of police seizing money from a local BJP leader, but police alleged that Mishra had deliberately misidentified the leader as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister.245 In a separate case the same month, 25-year-old BJP party worker Aslam Khan, who expressed dissatisfaction with the demonetization policy, was detained under Section 505(2) of the IPC in the same state’s Morena district. He had allegedly posted a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a WhatsApp group that was considered insulting because it had been altered to show him wearing a garland of shoes.246

  • In March 2017, at least five people were detained in different parts of Uttar Pradesh for posting “objectionable” content about newly-appointed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media.247 The reports did not elaborate on the nature of the content involved.

  • In April 2017, police in Hyderabad detained satirist Inturi Ravikiran for making derogatory remarks about the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and its members.248

Surveillance, Privacy, and Anonymity

An important Supreme Court ruling, issued after the reporting period, recognized privacy as a fundamental right.249 A draft privacy bill had been pending for many years,250 and the government recently constituted a committee to frame a data protection framework.251

The 2017 Supreme Court ruling came in the context of the Aadhaar scheme, a unique identification project creating a database of citizens’ biometric and other data. The government has required Aadhaar enrollment for the provision of multiple public services.252 The scheme raised concerns regarding data privacy, security, and usage.253 In 2017, it was reported that millions of Aadhaar records have been treated as publicly shareable data by different government departments.254 A national government-administered rural employment scheme was among several initiatives or agencies reported to have accidentally revealed Aadhaar numbers.255

There is limited opportunity for anonymity on the internet in India. Prepaid and postpaid mobile customers have their identification verified before connections are activated.256 There is a legal requirement to submit identification at cybercafes,257 and while subscribing to internet connections. The effective implementation of privacy rights remains a significant issue. Communications surveillance may be conducted under the Telegraph Act,258 as well as the IT Act,259 to protect defense, national security, sovereignty, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, and to prevent incitement to a cognizable offense. Section 69 of the IT Act appears to add another broad category, allowing surveillance for “the investigation of any offence.”260

The home secretary at the central or state level issues interception orders based on procedural safeguards established by the Supreme Court and rules under the Telegraph Act.261 These are reviewed by a committee of government officials of a certain rank, and carried out by intermediaries.262 A similar framework applies to the IT Act.263 Interception orders, which are not reviewed by a court, are limited to 60 days, renewable for up to 180 days.264 In emergencies, phone tapping may take place for up to 72 hours without clearance; records must be destroyed if the home secretary subsequently denies permission.265

Eight separate intelligence bodies are authorized to issue surveillance orders to service providers under these circumstances.266 Around 7,500 to 9,000 telephone interception orders are issued by the central government alone each month, according to a 2014 report citing information revealed in a right to information request.267

Online intermediaries are required by law to “intercept, monitor, or decrypt” or otherwise provide user information to officials.268 The Telegraph Act levies civil penalties or license revocation for noncompliance269 and the IT Act carries a possible seven-year jail term.270 Unlawful interception is punishable by just three years’ imprisonment.271

Some improvements to the framework have been made. On January 2, 2014, the government issued “Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Lawful Interception and Monitoring of Telecom Service Providers,” which were viewed by journalists but not publicly available.272 The procedures restricted interception to a service provider’s “chief nodal officer,” and mandated that interception orders be in writing.273 Rules issued in 2011 under the IT Act increased protection of personal data handled by companies.274 However, they do not apply to the government; critics say they create a burden on multinational companies, particularly in the context of the outsourcing industry.275

These improvements failed to address the framework’s inconsistencies. In 2012, a government-appointed group of experts said the Telegraph and the IT Acts are inconsistent with regard to “permitted grounds,” “type of interception,” “granularity of information that can be intercepted,” the degree of assistance from service providers, and the “destruction and retention” of “intercepted material.” These differences, it concluded, “have created an unclear regulatory regime that is non-transparent, prone to misuse, and that does not provide remedy for aggrieved individuals.”276

License agreements require service providers to guarantee the designated security agency or licensor remote access to information for monitoring;277 ensure that their equipment contains necessary software and hardware for centralized interception and monitoring; and provide the geographical location, such as the nearest Base Transceiver Station, of any subscriber at a given point in time.278 Under a 2011 Equipment Security Agreement that did not appear on the DoT website, telecom operators were separately told to develop the capacity to pinpoint any customer’s physical location within 50 meters.279 “Customers specified by security agencies” were prioritized for location monitoring, with “all customers, irrespective of whether they are the subject of legal intercept or not,” to be monitored by June 2014.280 The agreement remains effective, though various GSM operators lobbied for the clause to be removed from the license agreement because of compliance issues.281In 2014, an amendment to licensing conditions mandated government testing for all telecom equipment prior to use, effective in 2015.282 Cybercafe owners are required to photograph their customers, arrange computer screens in plain sight, keep copies of client IDs and their browsing histories for one year, and forward this data to the government each month.283

ISPs setting up cable landing stations are required to install infrastructure for surveillance and keyword scanning of all traffic passing through each gateway.284 The ISP license bars internet providers from deploying bulk encryption; restricts the level of encryption for individuals, groups or organizations to a key length of 40 bits;285 and mandates prior approval from the DoT or a designated officer to install encryption equipment.286

The government also seeks user information from international web-based platforms. Google reported that the government made 3,449 user data requests and 6,393 requests to access accounts between July and December 2016. Google made disclosures in 57 percent of the cases.287 The government requested access to 8,221 Facebook accounts between January and June 2016 and data was produced by Facebook in 53 percent of cases.288 The government made 168 account information requests to Twitter between June and December 2016, the highest by any government so far; Twitter said it produced data in 23 percent of cases.289

Besides retrieving data from intermediaries, the government’s own surveillance equipment is becoming more sophisticated. The Central Monitoring System (CMS) allows government agencies to intercept any online activities directly, including phone calls, text messages, and VoIP communication, using Lawful Intercept and Monitoring (LIM) systems on intermediary premises.290 In May 2016, the Minister for Communications and IT stated that the monitoring centers were already operational in Delhi and Mumbai.291 More centers were due to be rolled out across the country, but no updates were available in mid-2017.

MeitY officials indicated that security agencies could access messaging services such as WhatsApp in 2017, though they are unable to view encrypted content. In response to a question in the Lower House of Parliament, the Minister of State for Information Technology stated that “security agencies are able to intercept these encrypted communication services through the lawful interception facilities provided by the Telecom Service Providers, but they are not able to decrypt some of encrypted intercepted communication to readable format.”292

Law enforcement agencies may proactively monitor social media for signs of wrongdoing, although the legal grounds for doing so is unclear. In March 2017, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology said that “social Networking sites hosted anywhere in the world are monitored by the law enforcement agencies.”293

Intimidation and Violence

Internet users were attacked and subject to social sanctions in reprisal for online speech during the coverage period. In September 2016, a 22-year-old student in Bengaluru was assaulted for social media posts in which he criticized Kannada celebrities involved in a water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; another social media user had been separately arrested for offending the Tamil Nadu side of the dispute (see Prosecutions and Detentions for Online Activities).294

In May 2017, Sunil Waghmar, a Dalit professor, was beaten by a mob for forwarding a message that appeared to make light of a religious festival to a WhatsApp group of fellow professors. He was suspended from his job for misconduct, and police arrested him for the same message while he was still badly injured.295

Women, journalists, and political activists report frequent trolling and violent threats in response to their online posts.296 In July 2016, Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, invited women facing harassment to report it to her directly by email after a journalist reported that one abusive post appeared to come from a popular singer.297 The government is also developing an app in response to the problem,298 but women continued to be silenced as a result of the behavior in the past year. Gurmehar Kaur, a 20-year-old student of Lady Sri Ram College, New Delhi, was subject to threats of rape and murder after she criticized a hardline right-wing student group in an online video in February 2017.299 She withdrew from a related protest campaign as a result of the harassment.300

One sample survey of 100 women published during the coverage period found that most had faced severe online harassment but were hesitant to report them, even if they knew it was an option.301 A separate sample survey of 500 respondents made up of 97 percent women found that nearly 60 percent had faced online harassment, sometimes including violent threats.302

Technical Attacks

Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) reported a total of 3,347 websites hacks in 2016.303 Almost 200 central and state government sites were affected, including the site of Union Ministry of Home Affairs.304 CERT-In issues periodic advisories, and the government updates a Crisis Management Plan for central and state governments to respond to cybercrime on an annual basis.305 However, attacks to suppress online speech are not known to be widespread; most had economic motives, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.306

A hacker group calling itself Legion hacked into email and twitter accounts operated by high profile Indians, including two journalists, in December 2016, but without an obvious political agenda.307 A Congress Party leader and a liquor baron were also targeted, and the hacker claimed to have email addresses and passwords for more than 74,000 chartered accountants.308 Citizens also had their personal data exposed following technical attacks in the past year, including one reportedly involving 3.2 million ATM debit cards issued by major banks.309

 

Notes: 

 

1 Harriet Taylor, “Mary Meeker: India now has more internet users than US”, CNBC, June 1, 2016, http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/01/mary-meeker-india-now-has-more-internet-users-that-us.html; Vlad Savov, “India rises past the US to become the internet’s second biggest user,” The Verge, June 2, 2016, http://bit.ly/1Y3YnQx; “India Pips US in Number of Internet Users”, Huffington Post India, June 2, 2016,http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/06/02/india-internet-usage_n_10259450.html.

2 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. ii, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

3 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. ii, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

4 IMRB-IAMAI, Internet in India 2016, March 2017, p. 10, http://bestmediainfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Internet-in-India-2016.pdf.

5 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. ii, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

6 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, December 1, 2016, p. ii, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Indicator_Reports_April_June_01_12_2016.pdf.

7 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. ii, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

8 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, December 1, 2016, p. ii, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Indicator_Reports_April_June_01_12_2016.pdf.

9 Broadband Commission (ITU & UNESCO), The State of Broadband 2017: Broadband Catalyzing Sustainable Development, September 2017, p. 90, https://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-s/opb/pol/S-POL-BROADBAND.18-2017-PDF-E.pdf.

10 Broadband Commission (ITU & UNESCO), The State of Broadband 2017: Broadband Catalyzing Sustainable Development, September 2016, p. 93, http://www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/reports/bb-annualreport2016.pdf.

11 Akamai, The State of the Internet, Q1, 2017 Report, Vol. 10 No. 1, May 31, 2017, p. 12, https://www.akamai.com/us/en/multimedia/documents/state-of-the-internet/q1-2017-state-of-the-internet-connectivity-report.pdf.

12 Akamai, The State of the Internet, Q1, 2017 Report, Vol. 10 No. 1, May 31, 2017, p. 28, https://www.akamai.com/us/en/multimedia/documents/state-of-the-internet/q1-2017-state-of-the-internet-connectivity-report.pdf.

13 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators January – March 2017, July 5, 2017, p. 29, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Indicator_Reports_050720174.pdf.

14 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators January – March 2016, August 5, 2016, p. 27, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Indicator_Report_05_August_2016.pdf.

15 Akamai, The State of the Internet, Q1, 2017 Report, Vol. 10 No. 1, May 31, 2017, p. 29, https://www.akamai.com/us/en/multimedia/documents/state-of-the-internet/q1-2017-state-of-the-internet-connectivity-report.pdf.

16 Akamai, The State of the Internet, Q1, 2017 Report, Vol. 10 No. 1, May 31, 2017, p. 29, https://www.akamai.com/us/en/multimedia/documents/state-of-the-internet/q1-2017-state-of-the-internet-connectivity-report.pdf.

17 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, “TRAI’s Recommendations on the National Broadband Plan”, May 4, 2011, http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/Recommendation/Documents/Reply_DOT_Broadband_modified[1].pdf.

18 Report on Need for Reviewing Definition of Broadband, May 24th 2016, TRAI, http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/Recommendation/Documents/Letter_to_Secretary_DOT_24_may_2016.pdf.

19 Silja Baller, Soumitra Dutta, and Bruno Lanvin (Eds.), Global Information Technology Report 2016, World Economic Forum and INSEAD, p. 111, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GITR2016/WEF_GITR_Full_Report.pdf

20 Thierry Geiger, Soumitra Dutta, and Bruno Lanvin (Eds.), Global Information Technology Report 2015, World Economic Forum and INSEAD, p. 172, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_IT_Report_2015.pdf.

21 Silja Baller, Soumitra Dutta, and Bruno Lanvin (Eds.), Global Information Technology Report 2016, World Economic Forum and INSEAD, p. 111, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GITR2016/WEF_GITR_Full_Report.pdf

22 Manas Chakravarty, “Just how high is income inequality in India?” Live Mint, May 23, 2016, http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/JKZYjYjixRipa95tw2AOXK/Just-how-high-is-income-inequality-in-India.html.

23 Klaus Schwab, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, World Economic Forum, p. 146, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2016-2017/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2016-2017_FINAL.pdf.

24 Klaus Schwab, The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017, World Economic Forum, p. 202, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2016-2017/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2016-2017_FINAL.pdf.

25 Klaus Schwab, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, World Economic Forum, p. 147, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2016-2017/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2016-2017_FINAL.pdf.

26 Klaus Schwab, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, World Economic Forum, p. 147, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2016-2017/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2016-2017_FINAL.pdf.

27 Flash Statistics: School Education in India 2015-16, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, p. 27, http://udise.in/Downloads/Publications/Documents/U-DISE-SchoolEducationInIndia-2015-16.pdf.

28 Flash Statistics: School Education in India 2015-16, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, p. 27, http://udise.in/Downloads/Publications/Documents/U-DISE-SchoolEducationInIndia-2015-16.pdf.

29 Flash Statistics: Secondary Education in India 2015-16, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, p. 13, http://udise.in/Downloads/Publications/Documents/Secondary_Flash_Statistics-2015-16.pdf.

30 Anirudh Vohra, “Free Wi-Fi: Digital Dilemma”, The Financial Express, February 21, 2015, http://www.financialexpress.com/article/economy/free-wi-fi-digital-dilemma/45804/; “25 Indian cities to get free public Wi-Fi by June 2015”, India Today, December 17, 2014, http://indiatoday.intoday.in/technology/story/25-indian-cities-to-get-free-public-wi-fi-by-june-2015/1/407214.html.

31 Hansa Verma, “Free public WiFi hotspots in India: Here’s where you can find them”, Indian Express, July 17, 2016, http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/free-public-wifi-hotspots-india-heres-where-you-can-find-them-2913340/.

32 Faisal Malik, “Mumbai is first Wifi city in India, gets 500 hotspots”, Hindustan Times, January 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2ixLcXG.

33 Faisal Malik, “Mumbai’s public Wi-Fi likely to stay free till Aug 15”, Hindustan Times, June 26, 2017, http://bit.ly/2A6yjNa.

34 Shruti Dhapola, “Explained: What is Google’s Wi-Fi at 100 railway station project and how will it work”, Indian Express, December 17, 2015, http://bit.ly/1NqVyTp.

35 “Google Launches free Wi-Fi at Ooty Railway Station”, News18, December 23, 2016, http://bit.ly/2hvjTyo.

36 Manish Singh, “100 more railway stations in India to get Google's free Wi-Fi next year”, Mashable, December 27, 2016, http://mashable.com/2016/12/27/google-free-wifi-200-railway-station-india/#nT5FXSj4QgqB.

37 “Digital India – A programme to transform India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy”, August 20, 2014, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=108926.

39 National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN), Bharat Broadband Network Limited, http://www.bbnl.nic.in/content/page/national-optical-fibre-networknofn.php.

40 CSC 2.0 Scheme, Common Service Centres Scheme, DeitY, Govt. of India, http://csc.gov.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=174&Itemid=331.

41 Pranav Mukul, “Govt to set up 1 lakh common service centres in rural areas: Ravi Shankar Prasad”, Indian Express, March 23, 2016, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/govt-to-set-up-1-lakh-common-service-centres-in-rural-areas-ravi-shankar-prasad/.

42 “Centre ready to use satellites, drones to connect to rural India: Ravi Shankar Prasad”, Economic Times, February 4, 2015, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-02-04/news/58795885_1_digital-india-ravi-shankar-prasad-pilot-project.

43 “DoT to provide internet via MSOs, cable operators”, Times of India, February 16, 2015, http://bit.ly/2A6cNYZ.

45 Abhishek Waghmare, “Threat to cashless economy? After demonetisation push, digital transactions recede”, Hindustan Times, March 21, 2017, http://bit.ly/2x0uKc2.

46 “Digi Dhan Abhiyan: Over 25 Lakh Rural Citizens Adopt Digital Payments, Claims MeitY”, News18, December 20, 2016, http://www.news18.com/news/tech/digi-dhan-abhiyan-over-25-lakh-rural-citizens-adopt-digital-payments-claims-meity-1325527.html.

47  “Digi Dhan Abhiyan: Over 25 Lakh Rural Citizens Adopt Digital Payments, Claims MeitY”, News18, December 20, 2016, http://www.news18.com/news/tech/digi-dhan-abhiyan-over-25-lakh-rural-citizens-adopt-digital-payments-claims-meity-1325527.html.

48 “MeitY and Google launch ‘Digital Payments Security Alliance’”, Hindustan Times, March 24, 2017, http://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/meity-and-google-launch-digital-payment-security-alliance/story-rxt78P5ncCU0aAaZQKGTtI.html.

49 IMRB-INT, IAMAI Internet in India 2014, October 2014, p. 14; “Local language content to boost India’s internet penetration: IAMAI”, August 4, 2015, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/Local-language-content-to-boost-Indias-internet-penetration-IAMAI/articleshow/48346892.cms.

51 “Speakers’ strength of languages and mother tongues”, 2001 Census of India, http://bit.ly/2ilrFuG; IMRB-INT, IAMAI Internet in India 2013, June 2013, pp. 15-16, http://bit.ly/2lEDD7i.

52 Anoop Verma, “Internet domain names in Indian languages”, Financial Express, February 2, 2015, http://computer.financialexpress.com/magazine/internet-domain-names-in-indian-languages/8613/.

53 Indian Languages – Defining India’s Internet, KPMG and Google, April 2017, p. 7, https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/in/pdf/2017/04/Indian-languages-Defining-Indias-Internet.pdf; Pankaj Dovali, “90% of new net users non-English,” Times of India, April 26, 2017, http://bit.ly/2piaEV7.

54 Indian Languages – Defining India’s Internet, KPMG and Google, April 2017, p. 7, https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/in/pdf/2017/04/Indian-languages-Defining-Indias-Internet.pdf; Pankaj Dovali, “90% of new net users non-English,” Times of India, April 26, 2017, http://bit.ly/2piaEV7.

55 “FICCI-ILIA to promote adoption of Internet in Indic languages”, India Today, April 5, 2017, http://bit.ly/2lEJcCF.

56 Press Release on Internet in India 2015, IAMAI, November 17, 2015, http://www.iamai.in/media/details/4486.

57 IMRB-IAMAI, Internet in India 2016, March 2017, p. 6, http://bestmediainfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Internet-in-India-2016.pdf; Danish Khan, “India’s Internet user base to reach 450-465 million by June 2017: IAMAI-IMRB report”, Economic Times Telecom, March 1, 2017, http://bit.ly/2miP2sK.

58 Simon Kemp, “Digital in 2017” Global Overview”, We Are Social, January 24, 2017, https://wearesocial.com/special-reports/digital-in-2017-global-overview; Sujatha Subramanian, “Why are there so few women on the Internet in India?”, Hindustan Times, May 29, 2017, http://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/locating-gender-in-the-digital-divide/story-zt10VjNAwnOqcChjkYCLfN.html.

59 “Google to partner with India’s ‘Internet Saathi’ program: Ravi Shankar Prasad”, DNA, December 16, 2015, http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-google-to-partner-with-india-s-internet-saathi-program-ravi-shankar-prasad-2156455; Nandini Rathi, “Google’s Internet Saathi programme: How rural women are transforming communities”, Indian Express, March 13, 2017, http://bit.ly/2mhpUyn.

60 Kumkum Dasgupta, “Bridging the gap: Tech giants bring the internet to women in rural India”, Hindustan Times, October 28, 2016, http://bit.ly/2eLqstT.

61 Sarvjeet Singh, “Incidents of Internet Shutdowns in India (2010 onwards)”, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BycAZd9M5_7NOExCRnQ3Q1pqcm8/view.

62 Sarvjeet Singh, “Incidents of Internet Shutdowns in India (2010 onwards)”, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BycAZd9M5_7NOExCRnQ3Q1pqcm8/view.

63 Nakul Nayak, “The Anatomy of Internet Shutdowns – II (Gujarat & Constitutional Questions)”. CCG-NLU Blog, September 1, 2015, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/the-anatomy-of-internet-shutdowns-ii-gujarat-constitutional-questions/; Nakul Nayak, “The Anatomy of Internet Shutdowns – III (Post Script: Gujarat High Court Verdict)”, CCG-NLU Blog, September 19, 2015, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/the-anatomy-of-internet-shutdowns-iii-post-script-gujarat-high-court-verdict/; Chinmayi Arun, “Demarcating a safe threshold”, Indian Express, February 24, 2016 http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/demarcating-a-safe-threshold/.

64 Nakul Nayak, “The Anatomy of Internet Shutdowns – III (Post Script: Gujarat High Court Verdict)”, CCG-NLU Blog, September 19, 2015, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/the-anatomy-of-internet-shutdowns-iii-post-script-gujarat-high-court-verdict/.

65 Chinmayi Arun, “Demarcating a safe threshold”, Indian Express, February 24, 2016 http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/demarcating-a-safe-threshold/; Apar Gupta and Raman Jit Singh Chima, “The cost of internet shutdowns”, Indian Express, October 26, 2016, http://bit.ly/2eHDj2Y.

66 Nakul Nayak, “The Anatomy of Internet Shutdowns – I (Of Kill Switches and Legal Vacuums)”. CCG-NLU Blog 29, 2015, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/the-anatomy-of-internet-shutdowns-i-of-kill-switches-and-legal-vacuums/; Apar Gupta, “Section 144 and the power to impose an internet curfew”, Economic Times, September 19, 2015,http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-09-19/news/66706176_1_mobile-internet-section-144-central-government.

67 “Internet shutdown in Bhadrak for 48 hours post communal violence”, The New Indian Express, April 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2po0Tn6; “internet service restored in violence-hit Bhadrak town”, Prameya News 7, April 11, 2017, http://bit.ly/2in2EPt.

68 Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, August 7, 2017, http://www.dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Suspension%20Rules.pdf?download=1.

69 Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, August 7, 2017, http://www.dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Suspension%20Rules.pdf?download=1.

70 Sarvjeet, Singh, “Incidents of Internet Shutdowns in India (2010 onwards)”, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BycAZd9M5_7NOExCRnQ3Q1pqcm8/view.

71 “Jammu temple row: Mobile internet services restored across state”, Indian Express, June 18, 2016, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/jammu-temple-row-mobile-internet-services-restored-across-state-2861163/.

72 “Mobile Internet Services Suspended in Jammu”, NDTV, June 21, 2016, http://www.ndtv.com/jammu-news/mobile-internet-services-suspended-in-jammu-1421797.

73 Sullivan, Tim, “In Death, a Kashmir Rebel becomes what India has long feared,” AP International News, September 6, 2016, https://apnews.com/c71679e2a82c44048384ea5e4219e86b/death-kashmir-rebel-becomes-what-india-has-long-feared.

74 “Prepaid mobile internet services restored in Kashmir after six months”, Scroll.in, January 28, 2017, https://scroll.in/latest/827906/prepaid-mobile-internet-services-restored-in-kashmir-after-six-months; “Mobile internet services reportedly restored in Jammu, more than two weeks after suspension”, Scroll.in, July 25, 2016, http://bit.ly/2h3m3IL.

75 “Day 41: Curfew continues in Kashmir, broadband services restored”, Greater Kashmir, August 18, 2016, http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/day-41-curfew-continues-in-kashmir-broadband-services-restored/226038.html.

76 “Broadband Internet Services Resume in Kashmir Valley”, NDTV, September 17, 2016, http://bit.ly/2z4QdCk.

77 “Internet Snapped For the Day, yet Again”, Kashmir Observer, April 14, 2017, http://bit.ly/2z44uiT; “Internet Services in Kashmir to be Suspended Till 12 April”, The Quint, April 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2p05IGE.

78 “Kashmir: Tension in the Valley triggers suspension of mobile internet services”, Scroll.in, April 17, 2017, https://scroll.in/latest/834874/kashmirtension-in-the-valley-triggers-internetsuspension-closure-of-schools-andcolleges; Azhar Qadri, “Mobile Internet off again as protests grip Valley”, The Tribune, April 18, 2017, http://bit.ly/2h4p1wy.

79 “Mobile internet services suspended in protest-hit Nashik”, Hindustan Times, October 10, 2016, http://bit.ly/2zo3x5r.

80 “Bhojpur administration restores internet services”, Times of India, October 18, 2016, http://bit.ly/2gTzVBA; “Bihar bans internet services as violence breaks out”, Financial Express, August 7, 2016, http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/bihar-bans-internet-services-as-communal-violence-breaks-out/340517/.

81 “Internet shutdown in Bhadrak for 48 hours post communal violence”, The New Indian Express, April 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2po0Tn6; “Internet service suspended in Odisha’s Kendrapara”, Times of India, April 19, 2017, http://bit.ly/2otEtQI.

82 Manish Sahu, “Saharanpur: After 10 days, Internet services return violence-hit district”, Indian Express, June 4, 2017, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/saharanpur-after-10-days-internet-services-return-violence-hit-district-4687939/; “Mobile internet services suspended in Saharanpur fter violent clashes”, Times Now, May 24,2017, http://bit.ly/2z40oXQ.

83 Tongam Rina, “Fearing public ire, Congress leaders skip funeral of Arunachal ex-chief minister Kalikho Pul”, Scroll.in, August 12, 2016, https://scroll.in/article/813798/fearing-backlash-congress-leaders-stay-away-from-funeral-of-ex-arunachal-chief-minister-kalikho-pul.

84 Internet Shutdowns, Software Freedom Law Center India, http://internetshutdowns.in.

85 “Haryana on brink of Jat agitation, police say protestors are peaceful”, Indian Express, June 5, 2016, http://bit.ly/2lDPt1F; “Haryana: Sonipat DM bans mobile internet service in the district ahead of proposed Jat stir”, Indian Express, June 4, 2016, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/haryana-jat-quota-agitation-sonipat-mobile-internet-service-banned-2835078/.

86 Dishank Purohiti, “Internet blocked in Bhilwara to curb spread of rumours”, Times of India, September 16, 2016, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Internet-blocked-in-Bhilwara-to-curb-spread-of-rumours/articleshow/54369844.cms.

87 “Section 144 imposed in Bhilwara, ban on internet”, Rajasthan Patrika, December 13, 2016, http://rajasthanpatrika.patrika.com/story/bhilwara/section-144-imposed-in-bhilwara-ban-on-internet-2404590.html; “Internet services blocked in Bhilwara for 72 hours”, Sabguru News, December 26, 2016, http://www.sabguru.com/internet-services-blocked-in-bhilwara-city-for-72-hours/; Sarvjeet Singh, “Incidents of Internet Shutdowns in India (2010 onwards)”, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BycAZd9M5_7NOExCRnQ3Q1pqcm8/view.

88 “Undersea Connectivity: Key developments in Indian submarine cable systems”, Tele.net.in, October 6, 2017, http://bit.ly/2lAYsRe.

89 The ten are: SeameWe-3; SeaMeWe-4; SeaMeWe-5; Asia-Africa Europe-1; Bay of Bengal Gateway; SAFE; Bharat Lanka Cable System; SEACOM/Tata TGN-Eurasia; IMEWE; and Europe India Gateway. See Submarine Cable Map, TeleGeography, http://www.submarinecablemap.com/#/country/india.

90 Tripura to become 3rd international internet gateway of India, July 4 2015, http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/India/20150704/2634628.html; “Undersea Connectivity: Key developments in Indian submarine cable systems”, Tele.net.in, October 6, 2017, http://bit.ly/2lAYsRe.

91 India's new internet gateway via Cox’s Bazar to open late January, says minister, http://bit.ly/2xJp0kE; “Agartala Becomes India’s Third Internet Gateway”, NDTV Gadgets, March 23, 2016, http://gadgets.ndtv.com/internet/news/agartala-becomes-indias-third-internet-gateway-817331.

92 India, Submarine Cable Networks, http://www.submarinenetworks.com/stations/asia/india.

93 India, Submarine Cable Networks, http://www.submarinenetworks.com/stations/asia/india.

94 “TRAI Specifies Access Facilitation Charges for Submarine Cable Landing Stations”, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, December 21, 2012, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=91106.

95 “HC refuses to stay TRAI order on cable landing charges”, Business Standard, March 16, 2017, http://bit.ly/2zq3Xbi.

96 Pankaj Dovali, “Vardah damages undersea cable, internet slows down”, Times of India, December 13, 2016, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Vardah-damages-undersea-cable-internet-slows-down/articleshow/55967405.cms.

97 Indian Tower Industry: The Future is Data, Deloitte, June 2015, p. 7, http://bit.ly/2ylJhRZ.

98 Indian Tower Industry: The Future is Data, Deloitte, June 2015, p. 7, http://bit.ly/2ylJhRZ.

99 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. 100 - 104, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

100 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. 35, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

101 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. 35, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

102 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators October – December 2015, May 18, 2016, p. 103, http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/PIRReport/Documents/QPIR_Oct_to_Dec-15.pdf; Amrit Raj, “Reliance Jio plans to overtake Airtel, hit 50% market revenue in 4 years”, Live Mint, March 4, 2017, http://bit.ly/2gRxGPk.

103 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. 35, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

104 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. 11, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

105 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators April – June 2017, September 28, 2017, p. 9, http://www.trai.gov.in/sites/default/files/Performance_Indicator_Reports_28Sep2017.pdf.

106 Guidelines for Grant of Unified License, Department of Telecommunications, November 13, 2014, http://www.dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Amended%20UL%20Guidelines%2013112014.PDF. Guidelines and General Information for grant of licence for operating internet services, 24 August 2007, available at: http://www.dot.gov.in/data-services/internet-services.

107 Draft License Agreement for Unified License, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and IT, page 22, available at: http://dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Unified%20Licence_0.pdf.

108 Draft License Agreement for Unified License, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and IT, page 22, available at: http://dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Unified%20Licence_0.pdf. Guidelines and General Information for grant of licence for operating internet services, 24 August 2007, available at: http://www.dot.gov.in/data-services/internet-services; Guidelines and General Information for grant of licence for operating internet services, 24 August 2007, available at: http://www.dot.gov.in/data-services/internet-services; The TRAI has recommended steps so as to incentivise telecom operators to expand operations by suggesting that revenue generated by these companies from their non-telecom activities be excluded while calculating their AGR. This would help to reduce the revenue share that these companies would have to pay to the government as well as reduce their license fees and spectrum charges. Shauvik Ghosh, Trai recommends non-telecom activity be excluded from AGR, Live Mint, 7 January 2015, available at: http://bit.ly/2zY7jif.

109 Cybercafe Association of India, p.3, August, 22, 2016, http://bit.ly/2lFrL4S.

110 Department of Information Technology, Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011, http://deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/GSR315E_10511(1).pdf; Notification, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, March 16, 2012, http://deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/GSR153E_242012.pdf.

111 Bhairav Acharya, “Comments on the Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011”, Center for Information and Society, March 31, 2013, http://bit.ly/13KCBY5.

112 Department of Information Technology, Guidelines for the Implementation of the Common Service Centre Scheme in States, October 9, 2006, http://deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/downloads/policiesandguidelines/csc/cscguidelines.pdf.

113 Aman Sharma, “DeITY becomes a new ministry, leg-up for Ravi Shankar Prasad Read”, Economic Times, July 19, 2016, http://bit.ly/2h3ObLH.

114 Functions of Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & IT, Government of India, http://deity.gov.in/content/functions-deit.

115 Profile, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & IT, Government of India, http://www.dot.gov.in/about-us/profile.

116 IRINN, IRINN Policy Version 1.1, http://www.irinn.in/pages/static/IRINN_V1.pdf.

117 About Us, Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers, http://www.irinn.in/pages/static/about_us.html.

118 History, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, http://www.trai.gov.in/Content/History.aspx.

119 Section 11(4), The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.

120 “DTH operators should provide inter-operability of STBs, says TRAI Chairman”, The Economic Times, December 10, 2013, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-12-10/news/45035128_1_dth-operators-dth-licence-dth-service-providers; TRAI released the draft of: ‘The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (Fifteenth Amendment) Regulations, 2014’ for comments from the Stakeholders, January 29, 2014, http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReaddata/ConsultationPaper/Document/draftTCCCP%2015%20AMEND%202014final.pdf.

121 Section 14, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997; the tribunal was empowered to adjudicate between the licensor (DoT) and the licensee; between two or more service providers; between a service provider and a group of consumers; and to hear appeals against TRAI decisions.

122 Arun Sukumar, Another Blow to Autonomy of Telecom Regulator, The Wire, July 30, 2015, http://bit.ly/2xJpuHu.

123 Amendment to the TRAI Act, 1997, http://bit.ly/2iS8FaI.

124 “Trai wants Auction of 3G Spectrum after Formation of New Govt”, The Indian Express, February 12, 2014, http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/trai-wants-auction-of-3g-spectrum-after-formation-of-new-govt/1225198/.

125 TRAI Lays down Historic Order Protecting Net Neutrality, The Wire, February 8, 2016, http://thewire.in/2016/02/08/trai-lays-down-historic-order-protecting-net-neutrality-21090/.

126 Showkat Shafi, “Facebook, Twitter, other social media banned in Kashmir”, Al Jazeera, April 26, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/facebook-twitter-social-media-banned-kashmir-170426132038275.html.

127 Shruti Dhapola, “132-year-old Act can’t stand judicial scrutiny, say experts”, Indian Express, April 28, 2017, http://bit.ly/2A4yGbf.

128 Government of J&K Civil Secretariat Home Department, Government Order No. Home/ISA/476 of 2017, April 26, 2017, accessed at: https://twitter.com/ShivAroor/status/857204015540584448/photo/1.

129 Sameer Yasir, “Kashmir social media ban: Government, Opposition's use of Facebook, Twitter reeks of hypocrisy”, Firstpost, May 17, 2017, http://bit.ly/2quwcyj.

130 HT Correspondent, “Kashmir violence: Internet services suspended in Jammu, more areas face shutdown,” Hindustan Times, August 05, 2016, http://bit.ly/2cWd6tj. Amit Khajuria, “Mobile Internet snapped, restored in Jammu region,” Tribune, August 05, 2016, http://bit.ly/2h3woEA; Sneha Juhari, “WhatsApp on GPRS was blocked & restored in Jammu: report”, Medianama, August 09, 2016, http://www.medianama.com/2016/08/223-whatsapp-blocked-restored-jammu/.

131 Chinmayi Arun and Sarvjeet Singh, “Online Intermediaries in India,” February 18, 2015, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, https://cyber.harvard.edu/node/98684.

132 Section 69A(1), The Information Technology Act, 2008.

133 Section 69A(3), The Information Technology Act, 2008.

134 Rule 6, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

135 Members must be of the rank of joint secretary or above, see Rule 7, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

136 Rule 8, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

137 Rule 9, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

138 Melody Patry, “Index on censorship digital freedom India: Digital freedom under threat?”, Xindex, November 2013, p. 9, http://bit.ly/2yma1S5; See also Jyoti Panday, The Internet Has a New Standard for Censorship, The Wire, 29 January 2016, http://thewire.in/20386/the-internet-has-a-new-standard-for-censorship/.

139 Rule 16, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009

140 Common Cause v. Union of India [W.P.(C) No. 21 of 2013]; PUCL v. Union of India [W.P.(Crl) No. 199 of 2013].

141 Shreya Singhal v Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1.

142 Shreya Singhal v Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1.

143 Chinmayi Arun, “The Case of the Online Intermediary,” The Hindu, April 7, 2015, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/shreya-singhal-case-of-the-online-intermediary/article7074431.ece.

144 Rule 16, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

145 “1,377 social media URLs blocked during 2013-16”, Indian Express, November 24, 2016, http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/1377-social-media-urls-blocked-during-2013-16-4393231/. Blocked social media pages can still be accessed through encrypted connections, unless the social media company takes the content down.

146 “1,377 social media URLs blocked during 2013-16”, Indian Express, November 24, 2016, http://bit.ly/2g7Qvfg.

147 Nikhil Pahwa, “Indian ISPs block Streamable; Airtel runs ads on block page”, Medianama, January 23, 2017, http://www.medianama.com/2017/01/223-india-blocks-streamable/.

148 Kian Ganz, “Update: Bombay HC Passes First Anti-piracy John Doe Order, as Law Firms Commoditise the New Vertical”, Legally India, June 15, 2012, http://bit.ly/KIibkI. These orders are passed by virtue of the inherent powers of the court under Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code read with Rule 1 and Rule 2 of Order 39 of the Civil Procedure Code which deal with temporary injunctions.

149 Ananth Padmanabhan, “Can Judges Order ISPs to block websites for Copyright Infringement”, January 30, 2014, Center for Internet and Societyhttp://cis-india.org/a2k/blog/john-doe-orders-isp-blocking-websites-copyright-1.

150 Kartik Chawla, “The Trend and Tumour that is a John Doe Order”, Spicy IP, July 30, 2015, http://bit.ly/2huMuUz.

151 Shamnad Basheer, “In Bollywood’s Battle Against Piracy, A Neutral Ombudsman Might Be the Answer”, The Wire, August 23, 2016, https://thewire.in/61034/of-bollywood-blocks-and-john-does-towards-a-neutral-ombudsman/.

152 Eros International Media Ltd. & Another v. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., and 49 Others, SUIT (L) NO. 751 OF 2016 Order dated July 26, 2016.

153 Eros International Media Ltd. & Another v. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., and 49 Others, SUIT (L) NO. 751 OF 2016, accessed at: https://spicyip.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Bom-HC-order-in-Dishoom_-August-30.pdf.

154 Rajul Bajaj, “Bombay HC Effectively Transforms John Does from Swords to Shields – Delineates Most Robust Safeguards to Date,” SpicyIP, July 28, 2016,

http://bit.ly/2h3JvWm, Eros International and Another Vs BSNL & Others, Notice of Motion (L) No. 2147 Of 2016 in Suit (L) No. 751 OF 2016 avialble at: https://spicyip.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Bom-HC-order-in-Dishoom_-August-30.pdf, Balaji Subramanian, “Bombay HC pulls no punches, orders ISP to comply with John Doe,” SpicyIP, August 10, 2016, http://bit.ly/2hw1PnX, Swapnil Mathur, “Kickass torrent storm: In fight against global piracy, India sets the right examples,” Indian Express, August 3, 2016, http://bit.ly/2aTmg98, Kian Ganz, “The messy battle against online piracy,” LiveMint, August 02, 2016, http://www.livemint.com/Consumer/YtbRN9fv6ZgZCZOexcsWMI/The-messy-battle-against-online-piracy.html, Salman SH, “ISPs block torrents via a John Doe order; lapses in order compliance,” Medianama, August 22, 2016,

http://www.medianama.com/2016/08/223-isps-block-torrent-sites/.

155 Parul Sharma, “John Doe orders: The Balancing Act between Over-Blocking and Curbing Online Piracy”, CCG-NLUD Blog, August 11, 2016, http://bit.ly/2gT6UWD.

156 Prashant Reddy, “Delhi High Court takes ‘internet blocking’ jurisprudence back to the stone ages,” SpicyIP, August 03, 2016,https://spicyip.com/2016/08/delhi-high-court-takes-internet-blocking-jurisprudence-back-to-the-stone-ages.html, Aneesha Mathur, “Delhi High Court wants 73 websites banned for streaming pirated videos,” Indian Express, August 02, 2016,http://bit.ly/2h2R4wp. Department of electronics and information technology v.Star India Pvt. Ltd. R.P.No.131/2016, http://lobis.nic.in/ddir/dhc/PNJ/judgement/29-07-2016/PNJ29072016REVIEWP....

157 Javed Anwar, “830 more websites blocked in India, many torrent links in list,” Hindustan Times, August 25, 2016,

http://bit.ly/2bC0DNT; Swati Deshpande, “Madras HC orders blocking of 830 sites to prevent online piracy of 'A Flying Jatt',” TOI, August 24, 2016,

http://bit.ly/2zWXHEo.

158 “Internet Archive blocked in India, thanks to Lipstick under my Burkha & Shah Rukh Jab Harry Met Sejal,” India Today Intech, August 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2vmqGSp.

159 Section 67, The Information Technology Act 2000.

160 Section 67(B), The Information Technology Act 2000.

161 Lok Sabha, Question no. 4468, Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, accessed at: http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/11/AU4468.pdf.

162 Pranesh Prakash, “List of Blocked ‘Escort Service’ Websites,” CIS, June 15, 2016, http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/list-of-blocked-escort-service-websites; “Banned URLs: Here is the full list of the blocked websites,” Zee News, August 23, 2016, http://zeenews.india.com/internet-social-media/banned-urls-here-is-the-full-list-of-the-blocked-websites_1921363.html.

163 PTI, “Blocking websites does not solve the problem: Deity official”, ET Telecom, June 16, 2016, http://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/blocking-websites-does-not-solve-the-problem-deity-official/52782150.

164 W.P.(C).No. 177 of 2013.

165 Chinmayi Arun and Sarvjeet Singh, “Online Intermediaries in India,” February 18, 2015, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, https://cyber.harvard.edu/node/98684.

166 Arpita Biswas, “Roundup of Sabu Mathew George vs. Union of India: Intermediary liability and the doctrine of auto-block”, February 3, 2017, CCG-NLUD Blog, http://bit.ly/2zmQ65C; Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 341 of 2008, Order dated 28 January, 2015, available at: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/FileServer/2015-01-28_1422446201.pdf; order dated September 18, 2016, http://www.sci.gov.in/jonew/ropor/rop/all/827774.pdf; Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 341 of 2008, Order dated 28 January, 2015, available at: http://bit.ly/2ilmLh5.

167 Kritika Bhardwaj, “The Supreme Court Hears Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India – Another Blow for Intermediary Liability”, February 16, 2017, CCG-NLUD Blog, http://bit.ly/2lB7AVK; Arpita Biswas, “Roundup of Sabu Mathew George vs. Union of India: Intermediary liability and the doctrine of auto-block”, February 3, 2017, CCG-NLUD Blog, http://bit.ly/2zmQ65C; IFF “Statement of concern on the Sabu Mathew George Case: Don’t “auto-block” online expression”, accessed at: http://bit.ly/2zp4H0u.

168 Section 79, The IT (Amendment) Act 2008; Section 72A, IT (Amendment) Act, 2008.

169 Rule 3, Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011,; Pritika Rai Advavi, “Intermediary Liability in India”, http://www.epw.in/special-articles/intermediary-liability-india.html.

170 Chinmayi Arun and Sarvjeet Singh, “Online Intermediaries in India,” February 18, 2015, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, https://cyber.harvard.edu/node/98684.

171 Shreya Singhal v Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1.

172 [Facebook’s statement: “In 2016, informed by the decision of the Supreme Court of India last year amending the proper interpretation of the Information Technology Act 2000, we ceased acting upon legal requests to remove access to content unless received by way of a binding court order and/or a notification by an authorised agency which conforms to the constitutional safeguards as directed by the Supreme Court.”] https://govtrequests.facebook.com/country/India/2016-H1/.

173 Facebook Government Requests Report, India Report: July 2016 – December 2016, https://govtrequests.facebook.com/country/India/2016-H2/.

174 Facebook Transparency Report, July to December 2015, accessed at: https://govtrequests.facebook.com/country/India/2015-H2/.

175 Parul Sharma, “Indian Response to Online Extremism”, CCG-NLUD Blog, October 27, 2016, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/indian-response-to-online-extremism/.

176 Parul Sharma, “Indian Response to Online Extremism”, CCG-NLUD Blog, October 27, 2016, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/indian-response-to-online-extremism/.

177 Sofi Ahsan, “In Kashmir, Facebook faces criticism for blocking profiles, removing posts,” Indian Express, July 19, 2016 http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kashmir-facebook-faces-criticism-for-blocking-profiles-removing-posts-2922025/.

178 Anuj Srivas, “The Facebook-Kashmir Blocks: Technical Errors, Editorial Mistakes and Invisible Censorship Galore,” The Wire, July 31, 2017, https://thewire.in/55156/the-facebook-kashmir-blocks-technical-errors-editorial-mistakes-and-invisible-censorship-galore/.

179 Google Transparency Report, January to June 2016, accessed at: https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/government/IN/.

180 Twitter Transparency Report, July to December 2016, accessed at: https://transparency.twitter.com/en/countries/in.html.

181 Aroon Deep, “Steaming Services censor themselves in India, even though they don’t need to”, Medianama, July 06, 2017, http://www.medianama.com/2017/07/223-streaming-censorship-india/.

182 Section 5B, Cinematograph Act, 1952.

183 Aroon Deep, “I&B Ministry: We are not considering censorship of Hotstar and Netflix”, Medianama, December 13, 2017, http://www.medianama.com/2016/12/223-ib-ministry-not-considering-censorship-hotstar-netflix/.

184 Aroon Deep, “Steaming Services censor themselves in India, even though they don’t need to”, Medianama, July 06, 2017, http://www.medianama.com/2017/07/223-streaming-censorship-india/.

185 Akhil Arora, “Amazon Prime Video Censorship Evolves With an 'Indian Version' of American Gods”, Gadgets 360 NDTV, May 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2iPCo49.

186 Suresh, Mathew, “Amazon Prime Video Tells Us Why It’s Censoring Content in India,” Quint, December 16, 2016, http://bit.ly/2h39L2S.

187 In the Copyright Act, 1957, Section 51(a)(ii) read with Section 63 of Act the criminalizes use of any place for profit for the communication of the work to the public where such communication constitutes an infringement of the copyright, exempting only those who are unaware or have no reasonable grounds for believing that such communication would constitute infringement of copyright. Moreover, Section 51(b) read with Section 63 also prohibits sale, hire, or distribution to the prejudice of the copyright owner, as well as exhibition in public and import to India of infringing copies also amount to infringement of copyright, with no exemptions. See, Pritika Rai Advani , “Intermediary Liability in India”, Economic & Political Weekly, December 14, 2013, Vol. XLVIII No. 50, p. 122.

188 The guidelines and license requirements for intermediaries also prohibit the carrying of communication that infringes copyright or other intellectual property rights. Guideline 1.3(27), Guidelines and General Information for Grant of License for Operating internet Services, http://www.dot.gov.in/data-services/internet-services; Unified License Agreement, Rule 38, http://www.dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Amended percent20UL percent20Agreement_0.pdf.

189 Specifically, any providers offering “transient or incidental storage of a work or performance purely in the technical process of electronic transmission or communication to the public” through “links, access or integration.” See, Pranesh Prakash, “Analysis of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2012,” Center for Internet and Society, May 23, 2012, http://bit.ly/JSDMLg; Ministry of Law and Justice, “Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012”, June 7, 2012, http://bit.ly/Kt1vlQ.

190 Ministry of Human Resource Development, “Copyright Rules 2013”, March 14, 2013, http://bit.ly/YrhCS5.

191 Chaitanya Ramachandran, “Guest Post: A Look at the New Notice and Takedown Regime Under the Copyright Rules, 2013”, Spicy IPApril 29, 2013, http://bit.ly/16zSzWf.

192 “Gram Vaani,” http://www.gramvaani.org/; “How Mobile Vaani Works,” http://www.gramvaani.org/?page_id=15.

193 Jyoti Malhotra, “Voters strike back at TN’s captive political media,” The Hoot, May 16, 2016, http://www.thehoot.org/media-watch/regional-media/voters-strike-back-at-tns-captive-political-media-9364.

194 Ifran Quaraishi, “Kashmir: unrest gives push to digitization,” The Hoot, December 22, 2016, http://bit.ly/2xJrJuo.

195 Devika Sequeira, “Demonetisation saved Goa from paid news,” The Hoot, February 12, 2017, http://www.thehoot.org/media-watch/digital-media/demonetisation-saved-goa-from-paid-news-9940.

196 Order accessed at: http://indore.nic.in/dhara.html, Order dated: November 14, 2016, Order/2956/RADM/2016, accessed at: http://fsmi.in/sites/default/files/2956_order144.pdf.

197 Shivam Vij, “The 7 C's Of Narendra Modi's Political Success”, Huffpost, May 19, 2017, http://bit.ly/2zafdYt.

198 Darren Samuelsohn, “Trump now Twitter’s most followed world leader”, Politico, October 10, 2017, http://bit.ly/2rdykwy.

200 Usha M. Podrigues, “Hashtag Modi and demonitisation”, The Hoot, January 12, 2017, http://www.thehoot.org/media-watch/digital-media/hashtag-modi-and-demonetisation-9897.

201 Express News Service, “PM Modi to officers: Decide without fear, don’t promote self on social media”, Indian Express, April 22, 2017, http://bit.ly/2qbQIWE.

202 Govt. of India, Department of Personnel and Training, No. 11011/01/2015-AIS-III, July 11, 2016.

203 TCA Srinivasa Raghavan, “Mr Modi’s warrior trolls,” The Hoot, January 02, 2017, http://www.thehoot.org/research/books/mr-modis-warrior-trolls-9877.

204 Kunal Pradhan, “Election #2014: As Cyber War Rooms Get Battle Ready, BJP and Congress are Reaching Out to a New Constituency Spread Across Social Media”, India Today, February 8, 2013, http://bit.ly/16DM9Rv.

205 K Kohlil, “Congress vs BJP: The curious case of trolls and politics,” Times of India, October 11, 2013, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Congress‐vs‐BJP‐The‐ curious‐case‐of‐trolls‐and‐politics/articleshow/23970818.cms.

206 “Operation Blue Virus: Complete Story”, Cobrapost, November 28, 2013, http://www.cobrapost.com/index.php/news-detail?nid=4026&cid=23; K Kohlil, “Congress vs BJP: The curious case of trolls and politics,” Times of India, October 11, 2013, http://bit.ly/2z4YWVm.

207 Arpita Biswas, “How (not) to get away with murder: Reviewing Facebook’s live streaming guidelines”, CCG-NLUD Blog, April 21, 2017, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/how-not-to-get-away-with-murder-reviewing-facebooks-live-streaming-guidelines/.

208 Jeff Joseph Paul Kadicheeni, “Facebook Live adds fuel to fire in Kashmir,” The Hoot, April 19, 2017, http://bit.ly/2iS8LPG; Inzamam Qadri, “Streaming violence on Facebook Live is the new standard of proof in Kashmir,” The Scroll, April 18, 2016, https://scroll.in/magazine/834830/streaming-violence-on-facebook-live-is-the-new-standard-of-proof-in-kashmir.

209 PTI, “Government plans a new social media policy to check anti-India activities”, ET Tech, June 23, 2017, http://bit.ly/2lCRZoW.

210 Adrija Bose, “A 24-Year-Old Live Streamed His Suicide on Facebook Before Jumping From His Hotel Room In Mumbai,” Huffpost, April 04, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/04/04/a-24-year-old-live-streamed-his-suicide-on-facebook-before-jumpi_a_22024719/.

211 Inzamam Qadri, “Streaming violence on Facebook Live is the new standard of proof in Kashmir”, Scroll, April 18, 2017, https://scroll.in/magazine/834830/streaming-violence-on-facebook-live-is-the-new-standard-of-proof-in-kashmir; Abhishek Saha, “’Scared of camera’: Kashmir internet shutdowns seen as an attempt to choke voices, HT, April 30, 2017, http://bit.ly/2opu1ul.

212 Parul Sharma, “Indian Response to Online Extremism”, CCG-NLUD Blog, October 27, 2016, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/indian-response-to-online-extremism/.

213 Marci Marcel Thekaekara, “The Dalit Fightback at Una is India’s Rosa Parks Moment,” The Hoot, August 13, 2016, https://thewire.in/58820/the-dalit-fightback-at-una-is-indias-rosa-parks-moment/.

214 Ravikiran Shinde, “Social media helps Una dalits remain uncowed,” The Hoot, July 29, 2016, http://www.thehoot.org/media-watch/digital-media/social-media-helps-una-dalits-remain-uncowed-9529.

215 Gulam Jeelani, “A year after Una, Dalit ire may not be able to dent BJP prospects in Gujarat polls”, Hindustan Times, July 11, 2017, http://bit.ly/2lDD7Xr.

216 Article 19(1)(a), The Constitution of India.

217 Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, 1978 AIR 597.

218 Report of the Press Commission, Part I, 1954, Government of India, p. 357.

219 Article 19(2), The Constitution of India; Bijoe Emmanuel v. State of Kerala, (1986) 3 SCC 615.

220 R Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1995 SC 264; Kharak Singh v. State of UP (1975) 2 SCC 148.

221 Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, W.P.(C) 494/2012, August 24, 2917, Supreme Court of India, https://ccgnludelhi.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/all-wpc-no-494-of-2012-right-to-privacy.pdf; Chinmayi Arun, “The Implications of India’s Right to Privacy Decision”, Net Politics- Council on Foreign Relations, September 13, 2017,https://www.cfr.org/blog/implications-indias-right-privacy-decision.

222 Section 124A, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

223 Section 292 and 293, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

224 Section 499, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

225 Section 153A, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

226 Section 153B, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

227 Section 505, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

228 Section 5, Official Secrets Act, 1923.

229 Section 67, Section 67A, Section 67B The Information Technology Act, 2000.

230 (2015) 5 SCC 1.

231 Ujwala Uppaluri and Sarvjeet Singh, “Supreme Court ruling on Section 66A: As much online as offline,” The Economic Times, March 25 2015, http://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-commentary/supreme-court-ruling-on-section-66a-as-much-online-as-offline/.

232 Shreya Singhal v Union of India, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 167 of 2012; What next: What happens to Section 66A now, The Indian Express, March 26 2015, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/what-next-what-happens-to-section-66a-now/.

233 Subramaniam Swamy v Union of India (2016), http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/FileServer/2016-05-13_1463126071.pdf; Nakul Nayak, “Supreme Court finds Criminal Defamation Constitutional”, CCG-NLU Blog, May 13, 2016, https://ccgnludelhi.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/supreme-court-finds-criminal-defamation-constitutional/; Nakul Nayak, “Criminal defamation survives: a blot on free speech”, Mint, May 22, 2016, http://bit.ly/2wnB7m6.

235 PTI, “Kashmiri youth arrested on sedition charge in Chhattisgarh for 'anti-national' Facebook post,” Greater Kashmir, August 05, 2016, http://bit.ly/2zaaru9, Geeta Shehshu, “Why is Tauseef Bhat in Jail,” The Hoot, 04 September, 2017, http://www.thehoot.org/media-watch/digital-media/why-is-tauseef-bhat-in-jail-9616.

236 Irfan Sofi, “Kashmiri Students Outside Kashmir: Insecure and Threatened”, Greater Kashmir, October 7, 2016, http://epaper.greaterkashmir.com/epaperpdf/7102016/7102016-md-hr-7.pdf.

237 Ashish Bhalla v. Suresh Chawdhary, CS(OS) No.188/2016, http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=242183&yr=2016; Parul Sharma, “Delhi High Court Refuses to make Group Administrators Liable for Content posted by Other Members”, CCG-NLUD Blog, December 16, 2016, http://bit.ly/2hwOdsN.

238 Parul Sharma, “Ticked off: Cracking down on WhatsApp group administrators is bad policy”, Scroll.in, August 2, 2016, https://scroll.in/article/812710/why-taking-action-against-whatsapp-group-administrators-is-bad-policy; Freedom on the Net: India, 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2016/india.

239 PTI, “Offesnive WhatsApp posts can now land group administrator in Jail”, TOI, April 29, 2017, http://bit.ly/2gVb9kL.

240 BT Online, “Jail for WhatsApp group admins? No, there's no need to worry”, BT Economy, May 2, 2017, http://www.businesstoday.in/buzztop/buzztop-feature/whatsapp-posts-can-land-group-admin-in-jail/story/250481.html.

241 Rohit Kumar Singh, “Can being admin of Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups land you in jail in Bihar?”, India Today, April 16, 2017, http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/group-admin-facebook-whatsapp-groups-jail-bihar-bhagalpur/1/930105.html.

242 HuffPost Staff, “WhatsApp Group Admin Arrested In Karnataka For Sharing 'Obscene And Ugly' Photo Of PM Modi”, Huffpost, May 02, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/05/02/whatsapp-group-admin-arrested-in-karnataka-for-sharing-obscene_a_22065676/.

243 Monideepa, Banerjee, “32-Year-Old Arrested For Criticising Islam On Social Media,” NDTV, September 24, 2016, http://www.ndtv.com/kolkata-news/32-year-old-arrested-for-criticising-islam-on-social-media-1465963.

244 Renu Ratheesh, “Posting derogatory material on the social media about Jayalalithaa and Tamilians: 3 youths arrested,” India Live Today, October 05, 2016, http://bit.ly/2A5vjAG.

245 Wire Staff, “Social Media Post Against Demonetisation Lands a 19-Year-Old in Prison,” The Wire, November 29, 2016, https://thewire.in/83154/demonetisation-social-media-madya-pradesh/.

246 Shruti Tomar, Umesh Singh, Mahesh Shivhare, “Man arrested for circulating objectionable picture of PM Modi,” Hindustan Times, November 26, 2016, http://bit.ly/2A6s2RT.

247 HT Correspondent, “Arrest over a Facebook status: 7 times people landed in jail for posts against politicians”, HT, March 24, 2017, http://bit.ly/2imaQzK.

248 Ashish Pandey, "Andhra Pradesh: Political satirist Inturi Ravikiran arrested under IT Act for offensive social media post”, India Today, April 2017, http://bit.ly/2zaMFOs.

249 Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, W.P.(C) 494/2012, August 24, 2917, Supreme Court of India, https://ccgnludelhi.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/all-wpc-no-494-of-2012-right-to-privacy.pdf; Chinmayi Arun, “The Implications of India’s Right to Privacy Decision”, Net Politics- Council on Foreign Relations, September 13, 2017, http://on.cfr.org/2y0JR2V.

250 Yatish Yadav, “Centre Giving Final Touches to Right to Privacy Bill”, March 17 2015, http://bit.ly/2xLqDhU.

251 Office Memorandum, MeitY, July 31, 2017, http://bit.ly/2xK2DM5; Priyanka Mittal and Komal Gupta, “Amid right to privacy debate, new data protection law on the anvil, says govt”, LiveMint, August 2, 2017, http://www.livemint.com/Politics/qyHLWh2nVaVC5ilvyybAbI/Right-to-Privacy-Govt-sets-up-expert-panel-to-deliberate-da.html.

252 Usha Ramanathan, “Without Supreme Court Interference, the Aadhaar Project is a Ticking Time Bomb”, The Wire, April 4, 2017, https://thewire.in/120922/aadhaar-supreme-court-uid/.

253 Sunil Abraham, “Surveillance project”, April 15, 2016, http://www.frontline.in/cover-story/surveillance-project/article8408866.ece; Kritika Bhardwaj, “The Mission Creep Behind the Aadhaar Project”, The Wire, September 2, 2016, http://bit.ly/2lFTJxp; Chinmayi Arun, “Towards a database nation”, The Hindu, September 27, 2016, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/Towards-a-database-nation/article15000828.ece; Kritika Bhardwaj, “Explainer: Aadhaar is vulnerable to identity theft because of its design and the way it is used”, Scroll.in, April 2, 2017, http://bit.ly/2zYomAC.

254 Srinivas Kodali and Amber Sinha, “(Updated) Information Security Practices of Aadhaar (or lack thereof): A documentation of Public Availability of Aadhaar Numbers with Sensitive personal Financial Information,” The Centre for Internet and Society, May 1, 2017, http://bit.ly/2v0lOiS.

255 Krishnadas Rajagopal, “Aadhaar data leaks not from UIDAI: Centre”, The Hindu, May 03, 2017, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aadhaar-data-leaks-not-from-uidai-centre/article18379074.ece.

256 Press Release, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India, March 13, 2013, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=93584.

257 Rule 4, Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011, http://deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/GSR315E_10511(1).pdf.

258 Section 5(2), Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

259 Section 69, Information Technology Act, 2000.

260 Section 69, Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

261 Rule 419A, The Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951.

262 Rule 419A, The Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951; S 69, Information Technology Act, 2000.

263 Chinmayi Arun, “Way to Watch”, The Indian Express, June 26, 2013, http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/way-to-watch/.

264 Rule 419A, The Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951; S 69, Information Technology Act, 2000.

265 Privacy International, “Chapter III: Privacy Issues,” in India Telecommunications Privacy Report, October 22, 2012, https://www.privacyinternational.org/reports/india/iii-privacy-issues#footnoteref1_ni8ap74.

266 Research and Analysis Wing, the Intelligence Bureau, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Enforcement Directorate, the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the National Technical Research Organization and the state police. See, Privacy International, “Chapter iii: Privacy Issues,” in India Telecommunications Privacy Report, October 22, 2012,https://www.privacyinternational.org/reports/india/iii-privacy-issues#footnoteref1_ni8ap74.

268 Section 69(4), Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

269 Sunil Abraham and Elonnai Hickok, “Government Access to Private Sector Data in India, International Data Privacy Law”, 2012, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 307, http://idpl.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/4/302.full.pdf+html.

270 Information Technology Act, 2000, Section 69(4).

271 Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, Section 26.

272 Shalini Singh, “Centre issues new guidelines for phone interception”, The Hindu, January 10, 2014, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-issues-new-guidelines-for-phone-interception/article5559460.ece.

273 Divij Joshi, “New Standard Operating Procedures for Lawful Interception and Monitoring”, Centre for Internet and Society, March 13, 2014, http://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/new-standard-operating-procedures-for-lawful-interception-and-monitoring.

274 Bhairav Acharya, “Comments on the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011”, Centre for Internet and Society, March 31, 2013, http://bit.ly/RZC6EX.

275 Kochhar & Co., “2011 Indian Privacy Law”, Outsourcing.net, July 13, 2011, http://www.outsourcing-law.com/2011/07/2011-indian-privacy-law/.

276 “Report of the Group of Experts on Privacy”, Planning Commission of India, 7: 19, p. 60-61, October 16, 2012, http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/genrep/rep_privacy.pdf.

277 Saikat Datta, “A Fox On A Fishing Expedition,” Outlook India, May 3, 2010, http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265192.

278 Guideline 8, Guidelines and General Information for Grant of License for Operating internet Services, Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication and Information and Technology, Government of India, August 24, 2007.

279 Amendment to the Unified Access Service License Agreement for security related concerns or expansion of Telecom Services in various zones of the country, Item 9, Department of Telecom, September 7, 2011, http://www.dot.gov.in/access-services/amendments-access-service-licences; Nikhil Pahwa, “New Telecom Equipment Policy Mandates Location Based Services Accuracy Of 50Mtrs: COAI,” Medianama, June 17, 2011, http://bit.ly/keKNxY.

280 “Additional Cost Implication for the Telecom Industry as Government Mandates Location Based Services to Meet its Security Requirements,” Cellular Operators Association of India Press release, June 16, 2011, http://www.indiainfoline.com/article/print/news/additional-cost-implicat...; “Operators Implementing Location-based Services: Govt,” Press Trust of India via NDTV, August 9, 2012, http://bit.ly/S4zNcT. In June 2014, outside the coverage period of this report, the DoT issued a letter to all Cellular Mobile Telephone Service Licensees, Unified Access Licensees and Unified Licensees, asking them to submit the status of implementation of location based services within seven days of receipt. Department of Telecom, Implementation of Location Based Services with Time Frame and Accuracy as Mandated by License Amendment dated 31.05.2011 to UASL – Reg, June 19, 2014, http://www.dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/DOC240614-005.pdf.

281 “GSM operators ask DoT to remove 'location based service' clause in licence”, The Business Standard, January 21, 2013, http://bit.ly/2iTq0jH.

282 Amendment to Unified Licending Guidelines, November 13 2014, http://www.dot.gov.in/sites/default/files/Amended%20UL%20Guidelines%2013...; Sandeep Dixit, “Testing of Telecom Equipment in India Mandatory from next year”, The Hindu, 11 August 2014, available at: http://bit.ly/2xK4Eb7.

283 Rule 4, Information Technology (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) Rules, 2011.

284 Guideline 42, Guidelines and General Information for Grant of License for Operating internet Services, Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication and Information and Technology, Government of India, August 24, 2007.

285 Guideline 13(d)(vii), Guidelines and General Information for grant of License for Operating internet Services, Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication and Information and Technology, Government of India, August 24, 2007.

286 Guidelines and General Information for grant of License for Operating internet Services, Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communication and Information and Technology, Government of India, August 24, 2007.

287 Google Transparency Report, July to December 2016, accessed at: https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/userdatarequests/countries/.

288 Facebook Transparency Report, January to June 2016, accessed at: https://govtrequests.facebook.com/country/India/2016-H1/.

289 Twitter Transparency Report, July to December 2016, accessed at: https://transparency.twitter.com/en/countries/in.html

290 Melody Party, “India: Digital freedom under threat? Surveillance, privacy and government’s access to individuals’ online data”, November 21, 2013, http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2013/11/india-online-report-freedom-expression-digital-freedom-3/.

291Government setting up centralised monitoring system for lawful interception: Ravi Shankar Prasad, The Economic Times, May 4 2016, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-05-04/news/72832003_1_centralised-monitoring-system-rmc-ravi-shankar-prasad.

292 Lok Sabha, Question No. 1084, Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, February 8, 2017, http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/11/AU1084.pdf.

293 Lok Sabha, Question No. 4468, Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, March 29, 2017, http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/11/AU4468.pdf.

294 Express Web Desk, “Cauvery water dispute: Student beaten up for posting derogatory remarks on Kannada film stars’ protest,” Indian Express, Septemebr 12, 2016, http://bit.ly/2xKSnDr.

295 Varsha Tolgarkar, “Dalit Professor Beaten, Suspended for WhatsApp Forward Says College Always Wanted to Sack Him”, The Wire, May 02, 2017, https://thewire.in/130999/dalit-professor-whatsapp/.

296 Prasanto K Roy, “Why online harassment goes unpunished in India,” BBC, July 17, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-33532706.

297 ET Bureau, “Maneka Gandhi to take actions against those trolling and posting abusive remarks online against women, ET, July 07, 2016, http://bit.ly/2xJ3n3X.

298 Indo-Asian News Service, “Government to launch anti troll app for women,” Hindustan Times, March 03, 2017, http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/government-to-launch-anti-troll-app-for-women/story-EKRi2JnS0j80dbC80sBZFK.html.

299 Sucharita Senguta, “Trolled Into Silence,” Hindu, March 02, 2017, http://bit.ly/2h2Uv67.

300 Rituparna Chatterjee, “'I Am Withdrawing From The Campaign', Says Gurmehar Kaur After Incessant Trolling,” Huffpost, February 28, 2017, http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/02/27/i-am-withdrawing-from-the-campaign-says-gurmehar-kaur-after-i/.

301 Monalisa Das, “Online abuse of Kerela Woman Rampant, ‘pongala’ used for group trolling”, News Minute, July 15, 2016, http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/online-abuse-kerala-women-rampant-pongala-used-group-trolling-46566.

302 “Violence” Online In India: Cybercrimes agasint women & minorities on Social Media, accessed at: http://bit.ly/2qVvI7B.

303 Lok Sabha, Question no. 1084, Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/11/AU1084.pdf.

304 Shaswati Das, “11,592 cases of cyber crime registered in India: NCRB”, Live Mint, April 6, 2017, http://www.livemint.com/Politics/ayV9OMPCiNs60cRD0Jv75I/11592-cases-of-cyber-crime-registered-in-India-in-2015-NCR.html.

305Lok Sabha, Question no. 3652, Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology, http://164.100.47.190/loksabhaquestions/annex/10/AU3652.pdf.

306 Shaswati Das, “11,592 cases of cyber crime registered in India: NCRB”, Live Mint, April 6, 2017, http://www.livemint.com/Politics/ayV9OMPCiNs60cRD0Jv75I/11592-cases-of-cyber-crime-registered-in-India-in-2015-NCR.html.

307 IANS, “Who and what is the hacker group 'Legion'?,” Hindu, December 12, 2016, http://bit.ly/2iQX2B8.

308 TNN, “Legion hacker claims mail leak of 74,000 chartered accountants”, TOI, December 215, 2016, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/legion-hacker-claims-mail-leak-of-74000-chartered-accountants/articleshow/55990208.cms.

309 Rimin Dutta, “Massive ATM Card Hack Hits Indian Banks, 3.2 Million Debit Cards Affected,” Huffpost, October 20, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/10/20/massive-debit-card-hack-hits-indian-banks-3-2-million-cards-aff/.

Total Score: 
41
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst)
Obstacles to Access: 
12
(0 = Best, 25 = Worst)
Limits on Content: 
9
(0 = Best, 35 = Worst)
Violations of User Rights: 
20
(0 = Best, 40 = Worst)