Topic Of The Day:-“Snooping Or Saving? On Proposed Online Surveillance”

Proposed Rules For Online Monitoring Should Balance Legitimate Interest With Privacy

Laws seeking to regulate online activity, especially on social media, will have to be tested against two fundamental rights: free speech and privacy. Regulations that abridge these rights tend to operate in both positive and negative ways. For instance, statutory norms relating to data protection are seen as essential to protect citizens from any breach of their informational privacy; but attempts to regulate online content are seen with suspicion. The latter category evokesdoubt whether they violate their freedom of expression (as enforcement of such rules may involve blocking websites, disabling accounts, removing content and interceptingcommunication), and amount to surveillance that breaches privacy. Two official documents, one of them a draft proposal, that seek to introduce changes in the way rules for interception and monitoring of computer-based information are applied have caused a furore. The first was an order authorising 10 agencies under the Centre to implement Section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act, as amended in 2008, which allows interception, monitoring and decryption of information transmitted through or stored in a computer resource. The other is a draft proposing changes to the rules framed in 2011 for “intermediaries” such as Internet and network service providers and cyber-cafes. While the order listing 10 agencies does not introduce any new rule for surveillance, the latter envisages new obligations on service providersA critical change envisaged is that intermediaries should help identify the ‘originator’ of offending content. Many were alarmed by the possibility for surveillance and monitoring of personal computers that this rule throws up. The government has sought feedback from social media and technology companies, but it appears that even services that bank on end-to-end encryption may be asked to open up a backdoor to identify ‘originators’ of offending material. There is justifiedconcern that attempts are on to expand the scope for surveillance at a time when the government must be looking at ways to implement the Supreme Court’s landmark decision holding that privacy is a fundamental right. Some of these rules, originally framed in 2009, may have to be tested against the privacy case judgment, now that the right has been clearly recognised. It isindeed true that the court has favoured stringent rules to curb online content that promotes child pornography or paedophilia, foments sectarian violence or activates lynch-mobs. While the exercise to regulate online content is necessary, it is important that while framing such rules, a balance is struck between legitimate public interest and individual rights. And it will be salutaryif judicial approval is made an essential feature of all interception and monitoring decisions.


1) abridge

Meaning : shorten (a book, film, speech, etc.) without losing the sense.(v)

Synonyms : curtail

Antonyms : extend

Example : “an abridged text of his speech”

2) tend

Meaning : regularly or frequently behave in a particular way or have a certain characteristic(v).

Synonyms : bear

Antonyms : dislike

Example : “written language tends to be formal”

3) statutory

Meaning : required, permitted, or enacted by statute.(adj)

Synonyms : legal

Antonyms : illicit

Example : “statutory controls over prices”

4) breach

Meaning : an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.(n)

Synonyms : crack

Antonyms : closing

Example : “a breach of confidence”

5) suspicion

Meaning : a feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.(n)

Synonyms : conjecture

Antonyms : certainty

Example : “she had a sneaking suspicion that he was laughing at her”

6) evokes

Meaning : bring or recall (a feeling, memory, or image) to the conscious mind.(v)

Synonyms : conjure

Antonyms : calm

Example : “the sight evoked pleasant memories of his childhood”

7) enforcement

Meaning : the act of compelling observance of or compliance with a law, rule, or obligation.(n)

Synonyms : prosecution

Antonyms : abandon

Example : “the strict enforcement of environmental regulations”

8) intercepting

Meaning : obstruct (someone or something) so as to prevent them from continuing to a destination.(v)

Synonyms : ambush

Antonyms : allow

Example : “intelligence agencies intercepted a series of telephone calls”

9) furore

Meaning : an outbreak of public anger or excitement(n).

Example : “the verdict raised a furore over the role of courtroom psychiatry”

10) envisages

Meaning : contemplate or conceive of as a possibility or a desirable future event.

Synonyms : behold

Example : “the Rome Treaty envisaged free movement across frontiers”

11) sought

Meaning : attempt to find (something).(v)

Synonyms : desired

Example : “they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”

12) concern

Meaning : relate to; be about.(v)

Synonyms : interest

Antonyms : pastime

Example : “the story concerns a friend of mine”

13) implement

Meaning : a tool, utensil, or other piece of equipment that is used for a particular purpose(n).

Synonyms : utensil

Antonyms : exempt

Example : “garden implements”

14) indeed

Meaning : used to emphasize a statement or response confirming something already suggested(adv).

Synonyms : certainly

Antonyms : doubtfully

Example : “it was not expected to last long, and indeed it took less than three weeks”

15) stringent

Meaning : (of regulations, requirements, or conditions) strict, precise, and exacting.(adj)

Synonyms : demanding

Antonyms : amenable

Example : “stringent guidelines on air pollution”

16) curb

Meaning : a check or restraint on something.

Synonyms : restraint

Antonyms : center

Example : “plans to introduce tougher curbs on insider dealing”

17) Refused

Meaning : indicate or show that one is not willing to do something.

Synonyms : denied

Antonyms : allowed

Example : “I refused to answer”

18) foments

Meaning : instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action(v).

Synonyms : arouse

Antonyms : deter

Example : “they accused him of fomenting political unrest”

19) salutary

Meaning : (especially with reference to something unwelcome or unpleasant) producing good effects; beneficial.

Synonyms : healthful

Example : “it failed to draw salutary lessons from Britain’s loss of its colonies”

20) legitimate

Meaning : conforming to the law or to rules.(adj)

Synonyms : appropriate

Antonyms : abnormal

Example : “his claims to legitimate authority”

21) undermined

Meaning : erode the base or foundation of (a rock formation).

Synonyms : appropriate

Antonyms : abnormal

Example : “the flow of water had undermined pillars supporting the roof”

22) claims

Meaning : state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof.(v)

Synonyms : allegation

Antonyms : reply

Example : “the Prime Minister claimed that he was concerned about Third World debt”

23) denies

Meaning : state that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of.

Synonyms : contradict

Antonyms : accept

Example : “both firms deny any responsibility for the tragedy”

24) repressive

Meaning : (especially of a social or political system) inhibiting or restraining personal freedom.

Synonyms : restrictive

Example : “a repressive regime”

25) tumultuous

Meaning : making an uproar or loud, confused noise(adj).

Synonyms : fierce

Antonyms : calm

Example : “tumultuous applause”

26) tenure

Meaning : the holding of an office(n).

Synonyms : occupation

Antonyms : misconception

Example : “his tenure of the premiership would be threatened”

27) restored

Meaning : bring back or re-establish (a previous right, practice, or situation).

Synonyms : refreshed

Example : “the government restored confidence in the housing market”

28) essential

Meaning : absolutely necessary; extremely important.”it is essential to keep up-to-date records”(adj)

Synonyms : crucial

Antonyms : auxiliary

Example : “it is essential to keep up-to-date records”