Freedom. An interesting concept, isn’t it? Being able to do what you want, be what you want, express yourself however you choose. Of course, being a civilised society, we have laws to prevent misuse of freedom. Certainly wouldn’t want people to have the complete freedom to harm others without punishment, right? So, yes, laws do curtail freedom in some aspects. But recently we’ve witnessed a landmark Supreme Court judgement: that the right to privacy is a fundamental constitutional right granted to every Indian citizen. This is a huge deal, readers.
Privacy is a seriously multifaceted concept. In the Information Age today, data about people is extremely valuable to someone or the other. Aadhar pretty much has an immense database of personal and biometric data of most the country. The whole reason this debacle of privacy was brought up in court in the first place was because people questioned whether Aadhar information collected violated their right to privacy. I’ll leave the settlement of that question to the government, watching the Executive and Judiciary branches battling it out, with my bowl of popcorn here. Real change will definitely get some people worked up, but seeing these branches keeping each other in check restores some amount of faith in the system to me.
People willingly present plenty of their personal information online through social media, and that is their prerogative. One needs to be careful about what information of theirs is easily available to others. There’s plenty that can go wrong if one shares too much of their personal info. As I said, data about people is valuable. You may not think your preferences for shoes, your daily boring schedule, or secret hobbies matter to other people, but it does. There’s plenty of people that would most definitely pay to get all of that juicy personal info of yours. Marketing firms, stalkers, and anyone out to defame you can get plenty out of all of that.
Oh, I saved the best part of this ruling for last: it defines sexual orientation as an essential attribute of privacy. Discrimination against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Now, while this may be the by-product of someone seeking to protect their own information, or just attack the Aadhar initiative in general, it is certainly a landmark ruling for LGBT rights in India. Honestly? This part took me completely by surprise. This is an extremely progressive judgement for the rights of the marginalised. In India, where discussion of these rights is barely existent in the large picture, this sets the bar really higher than I could have imagined. It’s just such an amazing thing, seeing progress like this.
So, to conclude, I hope this ruling of privacy does help in a lot of ways. But it’s just a legal precedent. Social attitudes and norms won’t change just because of that. Plenty of work to be done yet. And as you know, information is valuable. Spread the word. Protect your own privacy. Say that LGBT people deserve their rights, even if you believe it but haven’t said so. You don’t need to necessarily put yourself at risk to promote social causes.
After all, why do you think I write under this pseudonym?
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