Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) Profile picture
Born out of #SaveTheInternet. IFF advances democratic freedoms for every Indian in a digital society. Follow our projects: @PanopticIndia and @PatrakarClinic.
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30 Nov
It is likely that the JPC's report on the #PDPB will finally be tabled in the ongoing #WinterSession of India's Parliament❗️

At IFF, we’ve been keeping a watchful eye on #privacy in India. Let's #StartFromScratch: Why do we even need a data law?👇🏽 1/6…
What is a:
➡️ Data principal
➡️ Data fiduciary
➡️ Data processor

What is the difference between:
➡️ Personal Data
➡️ Sensitive Personal Data
➡️ Critical Personal Data

What is a 'Data Protection Authority'? What are your rights? #StartFromScratch 2/6…
What are the key issues with India's #PersonalDataProtectionBill? Let's #StartFromScratch with a few:

➡️ Users' rights diluted
➡️ Inadequate checks re: surveillance
➡️ Processing data without consent
➡️ Govt. access to non-personal data

...and more! 3/6…
Read 6 tweets
27 Nov
[AMPLIFY] Join critical #digitalrights advocacy in India! #HIRING

1⃣ Policy Director:…

2⃣ Civic Literacy and Communications Associate:…

THREAD for details 👇🏽 1/4 Image
IFF is HIRING | Policy Director 🗣️

Lead IFF’s programme vertical, build IFF’s advocacy in emerging areas of tech policy, explain policy developments to our community, & drive real world change on digital rights!

Full job description and how to apply:… 2/4 Image
IFF is HIRING | Civic Literacy and Communications Associate 🗣️

Chalk out strategy, research and ideation to lead a young non profit’s communications, civic literacy, outreach, and advocacy initiatives!

Full job description and how to apply:… 3/4 Image
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
The Meghalaya Government has replied to our legal notice and has explained its position wrt to the use of FRT for verification of pensioners’ identities! We have analysed the response here ⬇️ 1/6…
The Govt. of Meghalaya says that the deployment of Facial Recognition Technology is optional and not mandatory. What it forgets is that the principles of information security must be complied by any authority collecting data, even when such collection is on a voluntary basis. 2/6
GoM says that the use of FRT doesn’t require any anchoring legislation, and doesn’t violate the right to privacy. What it forgets is that in the absence of a data protection law, the high risk of data misuse outweighs the aim of offering additional convenience to pensioners. 3/6
Read 7 tweets
17 Nov
It’s been over a month since the new RBI guidelines for recurring card payments came into force, but the dust around us has still not settled.

Small businesses, non-profits & international services are still struggling to get a hold of the situation. 1/6…
While some big corporations have figured their way out — either by shifting to other payment methods, offering prepaid top-ups or by temporarily offering their services for free — media houses that were finally getting a hang of the subscription model are back to square one! 2/6
Given the sudden drop in their hard-won subscribers, countless young startups that rely on the subscription model now face existential issues.

Read more about what the new RBI mandates entail, and what they really mean for India's subscribers ⬇️ 3/6…
Read 6 tweets
16 Nov
#HearingUpdate! The Delhi HC issued notice on an intervention application by 7 social science researchers in the copyright case filed by large publishers trying to block LibGen & SciHub.

IFF represented the researchers in the intervention application. 1/8…
Elsevier, Wiley and American Chemical — 3 large corporate media houses — have sought to have LibGen and SciHub blocked in India on grounds that these websites infringe copyright in works owned by them.

But any such blocking will seriously impact the rights of researchers. 2/8
Research in India is entirely dependent on community access to resources & materials and the knowledge commons.

Especially in universities where libraries are unable to provide access to all the books and journal articles that researchers need — even more so in the pandemic. 3/8
Read 8 tweets
16 Nov
Due to recent #internetshutdowns in Rajasthan, IFF filed RTI applications to find out what was going on behind the scenes❗️

Now, we have news. The 30 shutdown orders in 2021 (Jan-Sept; 645 hrs) follow an identical copy, cut, paste format! #KeepItOn 🧵 1/6…
All the internet shutdown orders issued by the Jaipur Divisional Commissioner were identical:

a. Bureaucrat recommends an internet shutdown citing ‘law and order’ concerns.
b. DC expresses satisfaction with the recommendation without reason.
c. DC suspends internet services. 2/6
Protest = Internet Shutdown

Out of 30 shutdown orders, 25 were issued during protests by the Gujjar community demanding reservations in ongoing recruitments & backlog vacancies, as well for the inclusion of a State reservation law in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution. 3/6
Read 6 tweets
16 Nov
Is democracy under threat?

@ProgIntl is creating an alternative — a global observatory with the legal expertise, data science, and parliamentary power to track anti-democratic attacks and provide real-time defenses against them.

We stand with them: (1/4) Quote tweet by Apar Gupta: ...
Our work on electoral integrity focuses on — free and fair elections and the impact of digitisation. This is a vital issue where our engagement includes a joint representation in the 2019 General Elections to the Election Commission. (2/4)
IFF has also advocated for a digital rights charter for political parties, and many of these demands have found mention in the manifestos of national political parties for the 2019 General Elections. (3/4)…
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
#Tripura police has asked Twitter for personal details, like IP and linked phone numbers of multiple users — including lawyers & reporters — under a flimsy excuse: 'potential to flare up communal tension'.
Here's why this is patently illegal. Thread 👇🏽 1/n…
Information sought: browsing logs, IP addresses from which the users had logged on, mobile numbers (including verified numbers added for security reasons), and accounts that users had linked into their Twitter account.
This notice is patently illegal as Section 91 of the CrPC does not empower police authorities to block online content, but only enables the production of a document necessary for investigation or inquiry. The power to block online content only exists u/s69A of the IT Act. 3/n
Read 8 tweets
8 Nov
Our latest in the #PrivacyOfThePeople series is out now, and this time we've focused on digital lending apps (both 'legal' and 'illegal') — the information they collect, the lack of regulation, and how the PDP Bill comes into the picture.

Thread 👇🏽 1/5…
After the pandemic began, illegal digital lending apps started offering unsecured loans to desperate borrowers. Interest rates (60-100%) and tenures (7-10 days) varied widely — no KYC. Extensive data was collected from phones & borrowers were harassed. 2/5…
Although digital lending apps fill a genuine market gap by offering credit to borrowers traditionally left out by financial institutions due to a lack of formal credit history, this may come at the expense of privacy and consumer welfare in India.

Some issues 👇🏽 3/5
Read 6 tweets
30 Oct
It has been 118 days since the “Sulli Deals” incident came to light — and Muslim women who were targeted are still waiting for justice.

IFF wrote to @DelhiPolice, highlighting concerns with the lack of progress being made in their investigation. 1/6…
On 4th July '21, multiple Twitter accounts posted a screengrab from an app hosted on @github titled “Sulli Deals”.

This app shared photos and social media handles of more than 80 Indian Muslim women with the aim of objectifying and demeaning them. 2/6
After massive furore and backlash, the first FIR in the incident was registered — 6th July '21. On 8th July, @NCWIndia and the DCW also took suo motu cognizance, while the @DelhiPolice registered another FIR. 3/6

Read 7 tweets
29 Oct
By now, you must have seen the horrifying videos of @hydcitypolice unlocking people’s phones and searching their chats for keywords like ‘ganja’ and ‘weed’.

We’ve assisted @digitaldutta in sending a legal notice to the #Hyderabad Police Commissioner. 1/n…
News report videos by @TheSiasatDaily showed police officials in Hyderabad stopping pedestrians, motorcycle/autorickshaw drivers and riders. They appeared to be taking their phones and going through them. 2/n
A police official confirmed this and said:

👉🏾 5 teams deployed
👉🏾 Police checking phones for keywords - ‘ganja’, ‘weed’ and ‘stuff’
👉🏾 Any phone with these words being sent to the police station
👉🏾 Checking for over a month from 6am to 2am everyday 3/n…
Read 8 tweets
29 Oct
As the frequency of data breaches increases, the threat to your data becomes more real every day — even if you've done your threat modelling & implemented digital security hygiene.

What can you do in the aftermath of a data breach? #CybersecCharcha ⬇️ 1/n…
First things first, confirm the breach and don't fall for rumours on Twitter! Verify the news from 3-4 trusted sources.

Beware of scammers moonlighting as company reps & try to gather more information. Speak to the company via official channels if you have to! #databreach 2/n
Next: Change your passwords if your credentials were leaked. Password tips:

➡️ DO NOT repeat the same passwords everywhere
➡️ DO NOT include Personally Identifiable Information (like birthdates, parents' names etc) — this will make them easy to crack.
➡️ DO enable 2FA! 3/n
Read 8 tweets
28 Oct
EXPLAINED: The RBI's #AccountAggregator framework that went live on 2 Sept '21! This new change was heralded as "transformative" to the financial ecosystem.

But does its revolutionary potential stand the test? Follow this thread ⬇️ 1/5 #SaveOurPrivacy…
This framework tries to make #financialdata more accessible between banks or other "Financial Information Providers" and entities requesting that data (like credit platforms) called "Financial Information Users" with the consent of the user.

Here's how it works ⬇️ 2/5
#AccountAggregator supporters say this is a step towards a secure, efficient, & connected financial ecosystem — reducing costs + frauds while prioritising user consent.

But critics say that security issues exist, while the role of RBI in regulating AAs has been questioned. 3/5
Read 7 tweets
27 Oct
#PegasusProject #OrderAnalysis❗️ Long Thread Alert 🧵

BIG NEWS: The Supreme Court of India has constituted a technical committee to investigate the allegations of #Pegasus use against Indian citizens. 1/14…

It is to enquire and investigate whether the #Pegasus spyware was acquired by any Government; whether it was used on phones/devices of Indians to access stored data, eavesdrop, intercept information; and/or for any other purpose. 2/n
The Committee can also make recommendations regarding new laws around #surveillance to secure the right to #privacy as well as about establishment of a mechanism for citizens to raise grievances grievances if they fear they are under illegal surveillance. 3/n
Read 14 tweets
27 Oct
❗️India must take official notice of the #FacebookFiles immediately❗️

IFF has asked the Standing Committee on IT to initiate an inquiry into the @FrancesHaugen & @szhang_ds revelations and invite them & #FacebookIndia reps for official testimony 👇🏽 🧵 1/9…
Stay with us as we break down the myth vs. reality of #Facebook, according to the company's own documentation!

First up: Political #misinformation and violent extremism. Can Facebook stand up to the challenge? According to reports, the answer is a NO. 2/9
Does #Facebook mislead the public about proactive hate-speech removal? The answer is YES — Facebook removes only 5% of the hate on its platforms!

Not just that, but the #FacebookFiles reveal that their platforms are literally primed for virality that promotes #hatespeech. 3/9
Read 10 tweets
26 Oct

If you’ve already contributed to our ongoing fundraiser (in any way at all!), thank you so much for doing your bit to keep us going. We've reached more than 40% of our goal!

But it's not over yet! We need help ⬇️ 1/5…
We are India's first line of defense against digital authoritarianism. We file critical litigation and engage in crucial policy advocacy. We hold India’s elected representatives accountable for their decisions on our behalf. Today, we need your help. 2/5
If you've donated already, thank you for seeing the critical value in IFF’s work. But we still need your help, and your support matters!

There are still ways you can help IFF reach stability for 2022 👇🏽

🕸 Amplify our fundraiser
🕸 Recommend IFF's work to friends & family [3/5] Give us a shoutout! Talk about digital rights! Recommend our
Read 5 tweets
25 Oct
REVEALED: The #Rajasthan govt. ordered internet shutdowns for petty reasons like “preventing cheating” in exams! IFF filed RTIs with the state's divisional commissioners (responsible for #internetshutdowns) to investigate compliance with #AnuradhaBhasin directions. #KeepItOn 1/4
IFF received a response from the #Udaipur Divisional Commissioner, stating their office has issued ❗️26 different #internetshutdown orders❗️ since the decision of the Supreme Court of India in #AnuradhaBhasin. 2/4…
According to the #AnuradhaBhasin directions, governments can only issue an order to shutdown the #internet if it is “necessary” and “unavoidable”.

Were these shutdowns necessary and unavoidable? See for yourself! 📲 #KeepItOn 3/4
Read 4 tweets
25 Oct
Social media giants have released their #ITRules2021 mandated 'Compliance Reports' for the month of August. We’ve analysed them! Thread ⬇️ 1/n…
These compliance reports lack true transparency as the #socialmedia giants have (till now) been opaque about the process/algorithms followed by them for "proactive takedown" of content. 2/n
Facebook has misled the public in “transparency” reports boasting proactive removal of over 90% of identified hate speech when internal records showed that “as little as 3-5% of hate speech" was actually removed. 3/n…
Read 5 tweets
20 Oct
Surveillance doesn't mean safety. Yet, Indian cities are cashing in on the myth to increase surveillance infrastructure.

We wrote to the Lt. Governor of Delhi, highlighting privacy concerns that arise from illegal CCTV deployment. #SaveOurPrivacy 1/5…
"World's most surveilled city" is not a tag to be proud of! In the last 10 yrs, 4100 CCTVs have been installed — Cost: 231.44 Crore INR. #Delhi

The need for safeguards to prevent privacy violations was recognised earlier & needs to be recognised now. 2/5…
On May 8 '18, a Committee was constituted by the LG to draft a SOP for CCTV use in public spaces — the Draft Rules for Regulation of CCTV Systems were framed but not put in place.

But present CCTV deployment in Delhi is under a non-legal SOP, and privacy concerns arise. 3/5
Read 5 tweets
20 Oct

The new RBI regulations have led to a steep drop of almost 70% in the IFF memberships base. We need your help!

This is not good news — for us or your digital rights. We need your help — help us get through this tough time

To reach our estd. costs (salaries, equipment, infrastructure), we need 30 lakhs INR. It is a large amount so we need all the support we can get — through one-time donations.

IFF takes forward critical litigation & policy interventions, with your support.
Three years of growth have led to a strong foundation of members, donors and supporters — Indian citizens like you — who help us advance a democratic, digitally equitable agenda.

We want a free and equal internet. If you do too, here's how you can help us ⬇️
Read 5 tweets
19 Oct
Revealed: IFF has its hands on 4 MoUs by the Department of Agriculture with private companies (including @Cisco, @ITCCorpCom, #Ninjakart & @reliancejio) on implementing pilot projects re: 'Digital Agriculture'.

We have the details, and the analysis ⬇️ 1/8…
.@Cisco will, among other things, provide the Dept. of Agriculture with software like the 'Smart Agriculture Platform' that integrates sensor & satellite farming data into a single dashboard. ICT and IoT tech will soon become a reality in farming. 2/8…
The MoU with #NinjaKart, on the other hand, promises to use algorithm based tech, #machinelearning and image recognition to help with agricultural market creations and 'increase efficiency'.

The product: a 'AgriMarket place Platform' (AMP) 3/8…
Read 9 tweets