The Surveillance Industry Is Killing Democracy

India is rapidly digitising. There are good things and bad, speed-bumps on the way and caveats to be mindful of. The weekly column Terminal focuses on all that is connected and is not – on digital issues, policy, ideas and themes dominating the conversation in India and the world.

Last week, the Financial Times disclosed that the Indian government is making fresh efforts to procure spyware that has a lower footprint than NSO Group’s Pegasus to continue its surveillance of dissenters, opposition leaders and human rights activists. The report claimed that the ability of human rights actors and tech companies to identify and notify users about nation-state surveillance activities has become a point of concern for Indian authorities. The defence department is expected to soon issue a tender and is willing to spend as high as Rs 1,000 crore on acquiring surveillance technologies.

The entities that are expected to lead the bidding process include Quadream, Intellexa and Cognyte. Of these three companies, Cognyte has already been engaging with several law enforcement officials. One such instance was at DIGIPOL 2023, a law enforcement-only conference, in which the National Cyber Security Coordinator, the director of DRDO and

— source | Srinivas Kodali | 03/Apr/2023

Nullius in verba


The Republic has Never Faced a Threat Like it is Facing Today

ONE of the most well-known faces of India’s legal community, Prashant Bhushan is a public interest lawyer at the Supreme Court of India. Born on October 15, 1956, he has been an outspoken critic of death penalty, India’s role in Kashmir and against Naxalism, and the treatment of minorities in the country. He has been a votary of greater judicial and government accountability, and was a member of ‘Team Anna’, a faction of the India Against Corruption movement that supported Anna Hazare’s campaign for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill. He helped Team Anna found the Aam Aadmi Party, but later distanced himself from the party due to ideological differences. He is the National President of Swaraj Abhiyan, another political party he founded along with Yogendra Yadav, and the Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh.

While still a student, Bhushan wrote the book ‘The Case that Shook India’ (1978) on the court case that set aside Indira Gandhi’s Lok Sabha election in 1974.

In this interview, Bhushan talks to The Leaflet about the many symptoms of the illness he feels has gripped the Indian Republic, and meditates on the manner in which the health

— source | Arif Ayaz Parrey | 26 Jan 2023

Nullius in verba

Laboratory for Dismantling Democracy

So, really, Wisconsin is a case study for how Republicans are dismantling democracy in real time right now, but also it’s a project that dates back over a decade, where Republicans have tried to create a situation where their majorities are voter-proof, that they control the state no matter what happens politically.

So, first it was the election of Scott Walker in 2011 and the union busting, the voter suppression, the dismantling of the state’s campaign finance system. Then it was the extreme gerrymandering, that has basically put Republicans in control of the state Legislature for the past decade. They passed the most gerrymandered maps in the country in 2011. Last year, in 2021, they passed even more gerrymandered maps. Now Republicans in the state Legislature are on the verge of a supermajority in the state, which would allow them to be able to override the veto of Democratic Governor Tony Evers if he’s reelected.

And what we have in Wisconsin is a paradox. It’s a 50-50 swing state, but in the state Legislature they’re on the verge of a two-thirds Republican supermajority, meaning that the Legislature is completely out of step with the rest of the state. And they have refused to pass popular policies like expanding Medicaid, like background checks for guns. They

— source | Oct 28, 2022

Nullius in verba

Democracy is Under Siege in Small Town USA

Wilmington, N.C. race riot, 1898: Armed rioters in front of the burned-down “Record” press building – Public Domain

Can a racist coup happen in America? I was in Wilmington, North Carolina on the day the congressional hearings into the events of January 6th began, and to this question I heard a resounding, “Yes.”

“It would be easier for people to understand what could have happened on January 6th in D.C. if they knew what actually happened on November 10th in 1898 in Wilmington,” Cedric Harrison told me.

Harrison leads Black heritage tours around Wilmington. It was on a different scale from January 6th. In 1898, bleeding bodies filled the rivers and the streets. Men drove through residential neighborhoods with guns—including a machine gun—firing bullets. Families ran away and hid in the cemetery and the swamps.

“But a lot of folks will go about their days denying that things like this ever happened,” said Harrision. “It happened, and January 6th is clear proof that the same mindset exists today.”

— source | Laura Flanders | Jul 21, 2022

Nullius in verba

FTX & The Joke of Democracy

This is what I think of as a signpost article – it points you to something the mainstream media is deliberately not giving the prominence it needs, but I have no personal expertise or inside knowledge to give you. I am just giving you a start to get going. Several readers will have a much better understanding than I, and I encourage you to give your thoughts in comments below.

It is also worth noting that only the immediate improvement to freedom of speech on Twitter by Elon Musk has brought this to my attention. Several sources – particularly Citizens for Legitimate Government – have suddenly appeared in my feed again after being entirely suppressed.

My own tweets are, for now, less suppressed – my own family have been receiving notifications from me after they were stopped for over a year. I am not in general a fan of billionaires like Musk, and I do not know where Twitter will settle, but there is undoubted initial improvement.

The FTX story seems truly remarkable. From being founded only in 2017 it rose to be a “partner organisation” of the World Economic Forum and the second largest donor to Biden and

— source | craig murray | Nov 15, 2022 |

Nullius in verba

“Election Police” to Intimidate Florida Voters

Republicans like Governor Ron DeSantis are attempting to scare formerly incarcerated people with felony convictions from voting. DeSantis launched an election police force to arrest people on trumped-up voter fraud charges. The arrests overwhelmingly targeted Black people and demonstrate “the state’s failure to have a system in place that can assure any American citizen that lives in the state of Florida whether or not they’re eligible to vote,” says Meade, who spearheaded an initiative to reenfranchise 1.4 million people with prior felony convictions, before it was overturned by Republicans. While several charges of alleged voter fraud in past elections have been dismissed, Meade says the arrests still intimidate qualified voters from casting a ballot.

Republicans are still trying to scare former felons away from voting, even as trumped-up charges of voter fraud in past elections have been dismissed in the lead-up to the

— source | Oct 28, 2022

Nullius in verba