India is surely the elephant in the room when it comes to expressing dissent.
Anonymous India(#OpIndia), the Indian arm of Anonymous, called for a protest against the increasing government control over the Internet. The hacktivist group is instantly recognizable online by its debilitating attacks and picketing of global corporations and offline by the Guy Fawkes mask worn by its supporters.
The latest shove was the John Doe order issued by the Madras High Court that prompted major ISPs to block access to various sites like thepiratebay.org , Vimeo, Dailymotion.com, torrentz.eu, among others. A John Doe court order is issued against unidentifiable individuals. But what riled up the netizens in this case is the fact that the court order was not against specific websites but against piracy of copyrighted content. The aforementioned sites were, however, targeted by blocking access to them altogether, instead of blocking the offending content.
In view of the increasing government control of the Internet, Anonymous India conducted Denial of Service(DoS) attacks on various Government and corporate websites. Furthermore, to drive the message home, they decided on massive protests in various cities across India.
But this is where the party ended. While the event was well publicized using social media and many promised to show up, the actual turnout was abysmal. In Bangalore, for instance, more than 11000 were invited on the OpIndia facebook page, 894 affirmed they were ‘going’ but less than 50 showed up!
Perhaps, in a country such as India, priorities are different and freedom, in the form of Internet, isn’t one of them. The few odd protesters made for nothing more than a curiosity for the passersby. For them, it’s just one among the many agitations, dharnas, bandhs that humor them at best, or inconvenience them at worst.
- Lalit Sharma
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