Was stuck on this one for a couple of days, thought about another concept, a single panel cartoon but it had been a while since I made a (web)comic.
The Government of India has its hands full tackling security risks arising from within and outside the country, and in the effort to “keep us safe”, it has now turned its attention towards the Blackberry. The intentions behind the demand to monitor communications seem quite understandable, and phone surveillance has been underway for decades – from the days when there were only a few thousand telephones in India.
However, given the complete lack of oversight about our surveillance rationales and mechanism, it is impossible to understand the extent of use, or misuse. The only time the topic of “phone surveillance” becomes public is when a political party makes allegations against the Government, allegations that are not followed up, not just by the media, but by politicians themselves. Whether this temporary interest is due to the knowledge that constituting oversight procedures would render a potentially potent weapon ineffective, out of complete ignorance, or out of sheer laziness of our legislators, is difficult to determine.
On the other hand, it is clear that there is lack of oversight and absence of public debate around an issue that can affect our privacy, our very lives, and we don’t seem to be worried about it. The ‘aam aadmi’ understands that sacrifices have to be made, but until there is reasonable transparency and open debate about the Government’s policies and intentions, it is in our best interests that the email that goes out of our blackberry stays out of the Government’s reach.
Happy Independence Day