Since the “twitter kanda” and the great flurry of tweets on what privacy means and does not mean online; debate on this issue was welcome development.
From vulnerabilities of online banking to lack if laws in Nepal regarding data
security and privacy, it is clear that the country is still an infant in digital world. There have been significant strides, but the basics are still very weak.
In a way, Nepal is in a hurry to catch up, but in that race the fundamentals are being ignored.
Most glaring, apart from lack of sufficient security measures, is the lack of appropriate laws. Looking at current environment of chaos and confusion on Nepali political scene, maybe this is something to be expected. But it does not take away the fact that the people are being provided less than what they deserve and what they are paying for.
It sad when creative minds are stifled of their hard earned money and recognition.
Bloggers, writers,singers, actors- all are victims of lax copyrights laws in Nepal which have not been updated to deal with the challenes posed by the information revolution.
But it would be wrong to assume that it is only the artists who are suffering. Some artists, I won’t name them, are engaged in copyright payback.
Recently I was at a party where the artists themselves were selling their own pirated CDs, $10 a piece. The CD cover looked like hastily printed at a home computer covered with a thin plastic wrap.
The company which released these CDs didn’t do it for free. They had invested significant amount of money and time. When an artist engages in piracy, it is a lose lose situation and does not make the injustice-if any, heaped against them by the music companies go away. This just creates a vicious cycle.
For more on Copyright in Nepal, this post at Future Challenges.
Kantipur printing public tweets of some Nepali tweeps, I see that as a truning point in the country’s privacy and digital security debate. Since then,
number of bloggers, tweeps and journalists have been vigoriously debating this issue and I see that the level of awarness and interest is growing.
It is another story that Kantipur completely ignored readers’ privacy concerns and instead accused them of being “digital refusniks”. But a positive start has been made and that should be embraced.
To take this a step further, there should be an accepted guideline among Nepali publications on what is acceptable to share about their readers- even when that information is public. For instance, going back to the twitter controversy, it would be better to set up a public twitter forum and publish tweets sent to that forum and refrain from fishing around.
So what can be done to make digital security, privacy and copyright a priority? Please send in your suggestions.