(Continued from previous article)

Having discussed the current fluid status of the Karnataka Electoral scene prior to the elections in May 2013 in the first four articles of this series and the importance of Netizens to unite as a coherent voting entity in the fifth, I will now proceed to place before the community some of the demands that are exclusive to Netizen’s welfare as a Charter of demand from Netizens.

It should be remembered that this Charter of Demand is exclusive to the requirements of Netizens and does not constitute the entire set of demands that the citizens of Karnataka may want to place before the prospective candidates across the State. Hence we may not have “Cauvery Issue” or “Corruption Issue” as part of this demand list. But it does not mean that these are not important for Netizens. They are also important but the focus of this Charter is on the requirements of the Netizens which as a constituency is not represented elsewhere though it is as strong as 12% to 15% of the  population.

The Charter is explained in some detail in the website of All India Forum of Netizens (under development). I present the Charter and a brief justification here.

Demand 1:

Recognize the existence of Netizens as part of the voting Citizens by providing a “Digital ID” to every Netizen of Karnataka with which he can participate in e-Governance in a manner that the law of the land will recognize. For this purpose every Citizen who opts for Digital ID should be given a free Digital Signature Certificate as per the provisions of ITA 2008 of the class that enables him to digitally sign e-mails. (Class 1). Higher class of digital certificates if opted for should be subsidized by the Government.

This move will build the basic infrastructure for the Netizens to participate in activities through which they can assert their democratic rights.

Demand 2:

Recognize and the fact that Netizens have their own Infrastructural needs and develop a “Netizen Welfare Policy” for the State which incorporates projects that move towards providing “High Bandwidth Internet Connection” at an affordable cost just like water and electricity.

Demand 3:

Recognize the fact that Netizens have their own security needs and develop an effective Cyber Security policy for the State and implementation program towards making Karnataka a “Safe Cyber State”.

Demand 4:

Recognize the fact that during the last two years, Cyber Judicial System in Karnataka has been closed with the IT Secretary who is also the Adjudicator of Karnataka and an exclusive judicial authority equivalent to a “Civil Judge”, effectively refusing to discharge his duties as an “Adjudicator”. This has made Karnataka the “Most Backward Cyber State of India”.

This needs to be corrected on a priority.

Demand 5:

Recognize the fact that Netizens have a right similar to “Human Rights”. Protection of Netizen’s right to “Freedom of Expression” and “Privacy” are matters that require urgent attention. Measures are required to be taken at the local level to develop such policies that protect the rights of Netizens without adversely affecting the requirements of the security of the state or the possible misuse of the freedom of expression.

Towards this requirement, a “Netizen Rights Commission” has to be set up at the State level and policies of “Regulated Anonymity” and “Responsible Cyber Expression” to be implemented.

Demand 6:

Recognize that Netizens are also “Consumers in Cyber Space”. In order to adequately recognize the “Consumer Rights of Netizens”, there is a need to expand and introduce effective implementation mechanism for protection of “E Consumer Protection” through a state legislation that covers consumers of mobile services, internet services, cyber cafes etc.

A large number of E Consumers are customers of E Banking, E Stock trading, E Commodity trading etc where the incidence of frauds is very high and the relative protection is low.

A separate institution should be set up for “E-Financial Consumer Protection” to provide assistance to victims of Cyber Frauds in the financial sector. This will be particularly useful to the Cooperative banking sector which functions under the State regulations more than under the RBI.

Demand 7:

Recognize the power of “Cyber Education” and extend “Virtual Education” facility to all students upto X standard across the State by setting up “Centralized Cyber School” with a pool of state’s best teachers to contribute content which can be distributed through the internet to remote areas where there is acute shortage of qualified teachers.

Comments, Suggestions and Participation in the program are welcome.

Na.Vijayashankar

As a Voter of Karnataka 

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