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Indian Govt. Plans an Agency to Monitor the Web [Makes Sense?]

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Do you know what happened on the internet in the last sixty seconds that ticked by?

Here’s some information about it, sourced from Intel’s What Happens In An Internet Minute?

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Some numbers on what happens in a Internet minute from above Infographic…

  • 6 million Facebook views were registered
  • 100,000 new tweets were sent out on Twitter
  • 204 million emails were sent
  • 3000 photo uploads took place on Flickr
  • 30 hours of video were uploaded on YouTube

Indians are playing no small role in this, with the online population in this country growing by an estimated 41% over the last year, standing at nearly 125 million during July 2012.

Keeping an Eye on the Web

India’s Central Government is thinking of setting up a ‘cyber surveillance agency’ to pre-empt any trouble that may arise from the misuse of the Internet, particularly social media.

This may sound like a case of better late than never.

However, the specifics of what actions the agency will take when the need arises are not clear.

One of the officials announced that the agency aims to put in place “an effective monitoring system, comprising duly tasked and technologically empowered cyber monitoring and surveillance agencies.” The official explained further that they will forewarn the government of abuse, but I won’t be surprised if the agency struggles to define what constitutes abuse.

The voice of such a monitoring agency could easily get drowned out in the face of rumors orchestrated at a massive scale, with rumormongers taking advantage of the more vulnerable masses. Even if the agency decides to swing into action, it will be effective only if the red-tape that dogs various authoritative bodies is first eliminated forever.

Instead of presenting us high-sounding phrases like “proactive dissemination of information to counter false propaganda”, a strong watchdog in the making must probably give us examples of real-life scenarios to convince us that we are being defended from the evil lurking on the internet.

Educating the Internet Population

We were taught how to grip a mouse, and surf the boundless, democratic Internet with ease. But were we thoroughly taught how to decide when to trust information? Were we taught how to react when we see something unpleasant?

These concerns must be the top focus of agencies entrusted with keeping us safe on the web.

Information About Us – Negative vs Positive

Google explicitly states that the pages it indexes reflect the content on the web, and that it does not own the web. The search giant advices contacting webmasters to correct or remove objectionable material from their sites.

If that is not possible, according to Google’s advice, it is a good idea to counteract negative content with positive views designed to stand out and capture the attention of search users. For those affected by biased news articles and opinion pieces, they suggest contacting news houses to publish updated articles.

As for Facebook, there are detailed guides on reporting abuse on the site.

The reality is that the evil minority on the Internet will continue to raise its ugly head to spread fear and mischief, on the lines of the recent unrest that sprung up in many Indian cities, causing migrant workers to rush back to their faraway homes. Their work centers around garnering as much attention as they possibly can.

One of the fundamental solutions is not hard – educate everyone at an individual level to sense their presence and ignore them – their agenda will collapse automatically.

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