Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tap on freedom

It was Professor hen software company Satyam went on hit the crisis.

Now Surjit Bhalla is now voice –on phone tapping issues in similar tone.

  • …what right did the Indian government have, or for that matter any government, to tap an individual’s phone on the mere pretext of suspicion of income tax evasion? The government will argue, and correctly, that tax evasion is a criminal offence. But given the way our system works, or any country, do we want to give tax administrators the authority to tap our phones?  
  • In the US, evidence obtained via wire-tapping is not admissible in the courts.  
  • In order to wire-tap, the government in the US has to go to a federal judge and obtain permission. And this permission is granted only in rare cases and when there is threat to life and public security. A simple and easily manufactured allegation of income tax evasion just does not cut any ice. Either in the US or in any halfway decent civilised  society. So why isn’t our civil society and/or industrialists protesting the arbitrary and extreme powers that the Indian state is able to manufacture at will? We are protesting that our privacy was violated, but not the instruments that made such intrusion possible? There are many other instances of government and politicians (besides the daily offerings of new corruption and scams) playing short and dirty with individual enterprise and freedom. Take the microfinance “problem”.  
  • Intellectuals, and bureaucrats and politicians — the same kind that allow wire-tapping for as “cheap” and widespread an offence as income tax evasion (remember that for legal purposes an income tax offence is the same as have you ever cheated on your spouse?!) It is alleged by the so-called do-gooder politicians that microfinance is bad because it allows people to profit on the backs of the poor — before you know it, they will claim that microfinance is bad because it allows for the sexual exploitation of poor women.

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