Privacy in Peril

Abstract: At the end of his latest movie, Superman flings down a surveillance drone. “You can’t control me,” he tells his military minder. This exchange goes to the crux of surveillance: control. Surveillance is the means by which nation-states exercise control over people. The USA and other western democracies have installed a comprehensive apparatus of surveillance, but these are accompanied by strong privacy laws and sophisticated criminal procedure. India seeks to replicate this without privacy laws, a reliable criminal justice system, or even technical know-how. For ordinary Indians whose privacy is besieged from abroad and within, the law offers no solace.