Modi’s Internet

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Modi’s internet

When access to the internet exploded across the globe, it was considered the greatest democratizing force in history.

And in the past decade, it was the province of free political expression, used to push progress, liberty, and rights.

But as malignant, authoritarian strains incubate and fester across the planet, governments are attempting to wrest control of it back.

In India, that movement is not just well underway, it’s almost entirely implemented.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, every facet of the internet has come under their control, every public space dominated by high-tech surveillance, every message potentially read by its prying eyes.

The party seized control of YouTube, pushing messages of party support while blocking criticism. It’s clamped down on viral videos on X that document a violent, anti-Muslim fervor sweeping the nation. It’s opened encrypted WhatsApp for inspection. Facial recognition litters temples and entire cities. And they can control it all with the flip of a switch.

India is the future of the internet under authoritarianism and the Modi government’s playbook is one that repressive regimes, hoping to curb the rights of individuals who oppose them, will all soon adopt.

Unless people fight back.
surveillance camera on brick wall

In India’s biggest surveillance state, 1 million cameras watch your every move

arm and hand with indian flag on sleeve controlling puppet on YouTube

Modi turned India’s influencers into an army of YouTube puppets

Facial recognition technology on face of Ganesha

Hindu’s holiest pilgrimages are now training grounds for authoritarian AI algorithms

speech bubbles communicate with an open eye between them

WhatsApp’s 100 billion daily messages in India are all under the BJP’s watchful eye

Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India in front of YouTube screens that read 'This video is not available in your country'

Muslims are being harassed, assaulted, and slaughtered by Hindu nationalists—and Indians can’t see it

broken computers with indian flag

India’s wanton internet shutdowns are cruel, capricious, and entirely ineffective

Written by:
Shweta Desai
Srishti Jaswal
Arbab Ali
Nadeem Sarwar
Divya Chirayath
Kaushik Raj
Deborah Grey
Produced by:
David Covucci
Art by:
Jason Reed

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