Standoff On IT Rules
India’s new and stricter IT Rules that require instant messaging platforms to aid in identifying the originator of messages. The petition challenging the constitutional validity of the rules, which come into force on May 26, was filed on May 25. Requiring messaging apps to trace chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy. The Information Technology Rules, 2021’ were notified on February 25, giving social media platforms three months to comply. The rules state that intermediary providing messaging services will enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource. The government, meanwhile, has confirmed that it respects the right to privacy and the requirement of tracing origin of flagged messages under the new IT rules is for prevention and investigation of very serious offences related to the sovereignty of India or public order. What India is asking for is significantly much less than what some of the other countries have demanded.
M R JAYANTHY, MUMBAI
No Cleanliness At Bus-Shelters
Every premises needs to be clean and tidy. This would in turn assure hygienic conditions to one and all. However at many of the premises we come across waste papers and plastic bottles scattered over the ground. Regular cleaning work is not being undertaken and dirty conditions become the order of the day. Seen in the picture is a bus-shelter situated near the main bus stop at Dhawali in Ponda. Waste papers have been noticed under the bench provided for commuters. Hence the very purpose of ‘Swachcha Goa Mission’ has been defeated. Commuters wishing to enter these premises for relaxing a while are bound to be reluctant to enter the same. They would rather prefer to remain standing in the open. Since cleanliness is next to godliness, let us hope that the concerned authorities would assure regular cleanliness at bus shelters so that they seem to be neat and tidy. Prompt favourable action is needed.
Pravin U Sardessai, ADPAI
Covid-19 Changing Face
It is now quite clear that contrary to all claims of victory over Covid-19, we may be staring down an abyss. The virus has clearly not gone away but turned its face in many forms. In fact, during the time we were celebrating the falling numbers it was merely crouching for a spring so to speak, with renewed vigour. Unfortunately the sharp spike has come.
C K SUBRAMANIAM, NAVI MUMBAI
Virus Leak Lacks Credibility
The assumption that Covid-19 might be the result of scientific experiments puts a spotlight on the work of the world’s most secure Biolabs. We have only circumstantial evidence that links the coronavirus to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in china. A number of experts are concerned about the functioning of such facilities. As they fear that accidental leaks could lead to the next pandemic, they want tougher control on such facilities. Biolabs like the Wuhan lab are considered to be safe and secure for scientists. Scientific experiments and researches on the most dangerous bacteria and viruses are conducted there. Such microorganisms could cause serious diseases for which there are no known treatments or vaccines. Notwithstanding the fact that such labs have all modern facilities to prevent pathogens from escaping, there are no binding international standards for safe, secure and responsible work on pathogens. Accidents are likely to happen at any sections of the labs. Deadly diseases such as H1N1, anthrax, SARS and so on spread due to accidents at such labs. Researches at such labs involve modification of pathogens to make them more transmissible, deadlier or better able to evade treatment and vaccines. All these are done to learn how to fight them better. The worst scenario is that a virus created at such labs could not merely kill scientists at such labs, it could also lead to a pandemic. A futility of such research is that it is not required and it does not help developing in drugs or vaccines. A number of experts have levelled criticisms against such research work on the grounds of lacking transparency and credibility. There is no corroborative evidence that confirms that the coronavirus leaked from a lab. However, there are certain circumstantial evidence to prove this. For example, Wuhan is around 1,000 miles away from the bat caves that harbour the virus.
Scientist from Wuhan are believed to be carrying out trips to those caves to take samples. Another circumstantial evidence that proves lab origin is that when the coronavirus was first detected in humans, it was not evolving fast.
VENU G S, KOLLAM