• Government’s new step to “protect” women: Rules for matrimonial websites

    In a step that’s aimed towards ensuring women’s safety online, the government has turned it’s attention to matrimonial websites. Recognizing the ongoing fraudulent activities over matrimonial websites, the IT Ministry approved certain recommendations laid out as a means to protect identity and intent of bonafide users. Under the new changes:

    • Service providers will have to make a declaration that website is strictly for matrimonial purpose only and not a dating website and should not be used for posting obscene material
    • Users (prospective brides and grooms) will have to upload their valid government IDs in order to activate their respective accounts.
    • All interactions over matrimonial websites will be monitored and stored with the service provider for a year.
    • One’s IP addresses will also be stored with the service provider. Just in case you get slightly deviant, they will find you and maybe go after you!

    “We have approved the standards to check the cheating on such websites”, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Indian Minister for Information , Communication and Technology. The IT Ministry, Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Home Ministry were involved in making this idea a visible reality.

    Also read: India ahead of US in internet usage: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

    My Take

    I am guessing that the women (or men) who are on the lookout for a prospective life partner online are a part of the educated, informed minority of Indians. I am not suggesting that they do not need to be ‘protected’, but my concern is the reason why this measure was seen as priority over the other issues that are more intrinsic to all women’s lives, irrespective of race, caste or even marital status.

    The aim is not to belittle, but to question if a bunch of inconsequential internet intimidators need to be monitored. Wouldn’t you say that the flag-bearers of these ministries are infringing an educated individual’s right to share ‘sexually explicit’ content with someone they intend to do it with?

    This is particularly amusing to me as an Indian woman, where we lock the woman’s sexuality before marriage and then lock her with a stranger in the name of the ‘suhaag raat’ after. To me this is merely the digital manifestation of a patriarchal society.

    Feature Image Credit: media2.indiatoday.in

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