Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Orkut, Censorship & Terrorism

I've started peeking at some "inside Orkut" blogs, and they recently linked some fascinating discussions on Orkut, censorship and terrorism:

[...]Google demands a judicial order to process the request which further delays the arrest of the accused, who may even have fled by then.

"However, logs of accused using Yahoo mail (of or Hotmail (of Microsoft) are provided immediately upon request as Yahoo and Microsoft both have their subsidiaries in India," says an intelligence official.

And, apparently, terrorist organizations are able to use AdWords to make money:

The specific Google properties which are serving these ads are housed on the Google Orkut social network. Orkut groups which were serving these Google Ads were set up by Hezbollah, Iraqi insurgent and other terror oriented groups.

An interesting, and unfortunately shocking, quote from

Controversial website is back in the news, this time over the posting of ‘obscene’ material about ‘Hindu girls’. And leading the charge against it is Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil.
On Friday, after Shiv Sena MLC Arvind Savant tabled a copy of the ‘objectionable’ material in the legislative council, Patil announced that he has sent a missive to the Centre, asking for the site to be blocked and banned. The government, he said, has instructed all authorities concerned to block the site. Any cyber cafe owner found violating the rule would face criminal proceedings.

Another blog post on the topic:

I sincerely hope that this is not typical government behavior in India. Maybe we'll be seeing clear illustrations of the difference between "democracies" and countries with constitutions protecting basic individual rights, such as freedom of speech. Maybe we'll also see the difference between people able to see the difference between content authors and media transports.
Unfortunately, many Indians have little tolerance for foreign cultures. I have personally almost gotten thrown off a train by a train conductor in India for hugging my wife in public. (That said, India should be commended for being at least generally democratic in a region of dictatorships and religious hostility.)

I also hope that government officials are able to see that terrorists leaving traces on the Web is actually a good thing for law enforcement and national security agencies.


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