LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (01/06/2021)

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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