AAP government manifesto in the 2014 Delhi Elections talked about covering Delhi with Free WiFi Services. As more details emerged later it became clear that free in this case meant public websites and websites that deal with governance will be free to access and WiFi will be available in public places only like Markets, Streets etc. Our efforts to make Delhi WiFi Project of the AAP government Porn, Proxy and economic Fraud (PPF) free started as soon as we saw the notification from the Delhi Government inviting public opinion.
We immediately send our submission to a Delhi Government suggestion mailbox set up for the purpose by them. Our first meeting with the IT Department folks happened in the month of March, 2015, when we met Mr. Sandeep Ahlawat, Principal Consultant in the Government IT Department and told him about of our concerns. Based on this initial discussion we got a slot to present our case in April, when consultation meetings were setup by the AAP Government under the Delhi Dialogue commission. Meeting was led by Mr. Adarsh Shastri parliamentary secretary to Delhi’s Information Technology minister. In the meeting we presented our case for making Delhi the first Porn, Proxy and economic Fraud (PPF) free city of India. Told the Government that your desire may be to give readily available Internet services to the residents of Delhi but how are you ensuring that it is a ‘Safe’ Internet that you are providing them. How you will ensure that Delhi WiFi will bring the benefits that you expect, when Internet today is capable of doing so much harm to the physical and mental well-being of delhi residents and their family members.
Gave complete blue-print of how Porn blocking can be achieved in the Delhi WiFi Project at a small incremental project cost (2-3%) only. Told them the importance of taking this decision now, as this cost will keep going up only if these features are introduced at a later date under public pressure or court pressure. Got good response in the meeting from Mr. Adarsh Shastri and other present but the AAP Government needs to follow-up this with concrete action. Below is an excerpt of the letter handed over to Mr. Adarsh Shastri by our team.
Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi,
SUB: Wi-Fi in Delhi (Stakeholders Consultation) – Blocking Pornography
Congratulations on becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi. We sincerely wish that your government will bring the people of Delhi out of the woos and despair from past many years.
We are a group of individuals working towards stopping access to Pornographic material that is today easily accessible through the Internet. Pornography is a serious threat to our existence as a society and to our collective moral conscience. It has been proven by research that persons who were regularly viewing pornography lost respect for women and had difficult in forming meaningful relationships with women resulting in broken marriages. The effect that such exposure is having on the impressionable minds of our children and their safety is even worse. Research shows that the average age of Porn exposure for children on the Internet is now 11 years ! Sexual offences are on the rise and rapists have regularly been found visiting Porn sites before or after committing such offences, some examples –
Delhi Rape case, 2012 – ‘After watching porn film, a 22-year-old man lured a 5-year-old child with chocolates and brutally raped her’. One of every five mobile users in India wants adult content on his 3G-enabled phone. Pornography web sites rank among the most popular in India. Three Karnataka ministers were forced to resign after they were caught watching porn on a mobile phone in the precincts of the Legislative Assembly.
Bangalore Rape case, 2014 – ‘recent gang rape-of a six-year-old child at Bangalore’s vibgyor school is the presence of child sexual abuse imagery in the laptop of one of the suspects’. While India is regularly on top of Internet pornography traffic and China is not, is probably because china blocks pornography and is able to do it effectively.
As you are aware, Delhi Governments plans to implement Free/Paid Wifi in the whole of Delhi. Imagine one year from now once Free Wifi Services are available widely in the whole of Delhi, a women walks into a Delhi Government bus and as she takes her seat, she sees a man looking at Pornographic images of nude women downloaded from the Internet. The woman immediately starts feeling uncomfortable and to add insult to injury the man is assessing this material via a ‘state provided’ WiFi network. Currently Pornographic data transmission is prohibited under Indian Penal Code, section 13 of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012 and section 67 of the Information Technology Act (Amended), 2008. These acts currently ban all kinds of pornographic data transmission and storage with imprisonment up to 3 years and fine.
This is with reference to the above agenda for which the undersigned, who represents the interest of concerned Citizens in this matter had send email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to Secretary, Dept of Information Technology, Delhi Government. On 24-03-2015, we met Principal Consultant at Department of Information Technology, Delhi Government office at 9th Level, B-Wing, Secretariat, I.P. Estate, New Delhi – 110002 and explained our concerns with this deployment.
Our Submission in the matter is as follows:
- There should be public debate on this topic and the state should be able to demonstrate a robust solution is in place to make sure that Pornographic sites are banned in this Public Internet infrastructure. It is not only the moral responsibility of the Government to ensure this, but legal as well. Pornographic data transmission is an illegal activity under section 67 of the IT Act (amended), 2008 and Section 13 of the POCSO Act, 2012. With 30% web traffic today consisting of Porn it is given that Porn traffic will be accessed via this WiFi network and the government will be directly held responsible under the above acts as a beneficiary (telecom revenue).
- To prevent this Delhi Governments ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFP) or Tender notice for the WiFi Infrastructure should contain sufficient safe-guard related to blocking Pornography sites. These can be worded on the lines of…..to read further