Let's Build a Responsible Cyber Society

Freedom Movement for Digital Independence of India

This is in continuation of the earlier article .. Avoid Software Piracy

In India we have just completed the celebration of the 60th year of Independence. We are all proud that India successfully snatched freedom from the British rule in 1947 after a non-violent Satyagraha movement lead by Mahatma Gandhi.

We are also presently debating the proposed "Nuclear Cooperation Agreement" with US.  The Communist leaders such as Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and others have been very vocal in their opposition to the deal since they feel that it compromises the security and sovereignty of the country. BJP leaders also agree with these views.

While we leave this nuclear debate to the seasoned politicians, we would like to draw their attention to the need to take steps to prevent colonisation of our digital space through misuse of IPR concept thrust through the WTA and  TRIPS agreement.

The immediate concerns about the increasing dependence of the country's economy on US based Copyright/Patented software and the developments regarding DRM through Windows Vista OS have been highlighted in some of the earlier articles at Naavi.org.

We feel that there is a strategic attempt to first penetrate the market  through development of a addictive dependence on certain proprietory OS and applications and then gradually tightening the screws through new versions and strict copyright restrictions. Finally with a DRM switch the control on the operations of all dependent computers will be held by the OS manufacturer  with a power to hold the country to ransom if need be.

We therefore feel the need to start a strong movement on decolonisation of the Indian Digital Space. We feel this is as important as the "Freedom Movement" which Gandhi waged against the British.

Naavi.org therefore invites all similar thinking individuals to collaborate in this effort.

As a starting point, Let's declare a " Freedom Movement  for Digital Independence of Indian Cyber Space" and  adopt certain steps towards freeing ourselves from the clutches of proprietory software.

We have for guidance the Gandhian principles of "Non Cooperation", "Satyagraha" and "Pursuation" to help us in this direction. We  donot subscribe to the militant approach that some "Ethical Hackers" may adopt and pursue a non-violent approach. We presume that there is a middle ground between commercial interests and freedom from exploitation and we shall strive to find this as a solution.

One of the demands we place before the community is

a) Copyrights for Software Applications should be limited to a period of 3 years  only

b) Computer OS should be declared as an "Essential Commodity" and be out of the purview of the Copyright law.

Public should start a non cooperation movement with an objective of reducing the community's dependence on properietory software. Individual programmes towards this end should be taken up by users.

As a starter, users of word processing documents may 

1. Refuse to accept docx documents created out of Office 2007 and insist on a more commonly used formats for document exchange.

2. Start using AbiWord or such other open source applications instead of Microsoft Word

I invite more suggestions in this regard from readers.


August 19, 2007

Also read the  earlier article .. Avoid Software Piracy

(Comments are welcome at  naavi@vsnl.com )