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UP Govt’s Free Phones, Tablets for Students Building Surveillance, Breach Privacy : AISA

Uttar Pradesh government has been building a structure of surveillance and control in the name of distributing mobile phones and tablets to the students, claims the All India Students Association (AISA). In a letter to the UP state committee, the association claimed that students who received the devices found a “This device is not private” notification.

As per AISA, the Yogi Adityanath-led government has configured all phones/tablets to give all the data to the government and the owners of the devices were not asked for any permissions to change the settings of the phones and tablets.

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AISA opposed the BJP government’s alleged surveillance and control by saying “Do you know, the UP govt in name of distributing mobiles & tablets to students of the state is building a structure of surveillance & control? AISA opposes this Pegasus model of governance & demands the configuration of surveillance & control be immediately removed,” wrote the association.

It is through UPDESCO that the government has configured the phones of the students which is a complete “breach of privacy”, says AISA. With the help of the IT admin of UPDESCO, the government is accessing the students’ data usage call history, browsing history, applications, device location, and corporate details, the letter added. As many as 1 crore students will receive the devices and government intends to access the behaviour patterns of each of the students, it added.

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The students’ outfit also highlighted the Pegasus spyware and Bhima Koregaon cases. According to them, the spyware scandal put the privacy of citizens a risk, and the activists of the Bhima Koregaon case who were arrested had their phones targeted by Pegasus, and alleged evidence was planted on their device. “It is in this context that we need to understand what the BJP government in UP is doing with student recipients of digital gadgets,” the letter read. It also claimed the copious amounts of data were given to companies with the data received in the Arogya Setu app.

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