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Google Aids Indian Goverment Censorship 245

An anonymous reader writes "Google's Orkut has made a deal to provide IP addresses of posters of content deemed objectionable by Bombay police. They object, among others, to posts against certain Indian personalities, young women admiring Indian mobsters, and, amazingly, "anti-Indian words" (!)."
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Google Aids Indian Goverment Censorship

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  • well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd ( 1050150 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:05PM (#18326463) Homepage
    Well if Google doesnt bow to the Indian government they will lose money. The "dont be evil" mantra would seem to contradict this move.
  • Mumbai (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:09PM (#18326503)
    It hasn't been named Bombay in years.

    Then again, that's not how you spell "Government" either.

    Also - read the end of the not-so-fine article. Yes, undoubtedly there's evil at play. On the other hand, if something illegal was done (the police were involved, one can only sadly assume the 'posting of picture with derogatory comments' was of an illegal nature over there), there shouldn't be any reason for Orkut protecting the suspect perp. Though filing a subpoena for the information (thus not bypassing the judicial system) would be much preferable. /no-karma anon
  • Sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:14PM (#18326543)
    Does Google leadership believe that "Do no evil" "Obey all laws"?

    Or have they simply abandoned "Do no evil" in favor of, "Do not much evil, and even then only do it if you want to gain a foothold in countries with rapidly growing economies."?
  • Not another China (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koreth ( 409849 ) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:17PM (#18326565)
    I've defended Google's China policy, but it seems like they're just flat-out in the wrong on this one (assuming, that is, that we're getting the whole story here.) I am having a very hard time seeing what greater good is served here. In China they are withholding information their users want. Not great but they are at least servicing the users' requests, just not as fully as one would prefer. Here they are giving out information their users presumably expected to remain private, in direct opposition to their users' intentions. Bad Google.
  • by TodMinuit ( 1026042 ) <todminuit@gmail. c o m> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:19PM (#18326603)
    I'm usually in the "whatever, they have to do business" crowd with google, but this isn't in any grey area, it's downright black.

    How so? You want to play in India, you play by their rules. You can argue that India is doing the black, but Google is just playing by the rules.
  • by Tsagadai ( 922574 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:27PM (#18326655) Journal
    Playing by the rules is supporting them. If google is helping crazy regimes stay in power that is a very bad thing. Just like in war you have a choice whether to pull the trigger. You may be killed (metaphorically or physically) for your decision but you can't sit on the fence it's yes or no.
  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer.alum@mit@edu> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:43PM (#18326775) Homepage

    In addition to the fact that many Indians are not as urbane, tolerant, and well-educated as those one encounters in the US, one has to take into account the fact that India is much more diverse ethnically and religiously than the United States, and that many potentially hostile groups live in close proximity. While I don't agree with such censorship, I can understand the desire of the Indian government to keep everybody happy and avoid bloodshed.

    (Shivaji, btw died in 18th century)

    17th century, actually: 1680.

  • Re:Business Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:54PM (#18326879)
    "Business" is no excuse for immorality.
  • Re:That's nothing! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:14PM (#18327071) Journal
    "I thought India was atleast a pretend democracy?"

    India happens to be the world's largest democracy, their voting system is simpler and more secure than what can be found in recent US elections.
  • Re:Business Sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by espergreen ( 849246 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:45PM (#18327383) Homepage
    Neither is Government.
  • Re:Business Sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by justinlee37 ( 993373 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:47PM (#18327401)
    Is it really immoral to cooperate with the police in a criminal investigation?
  • Re:Business Sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:59PM (#18327505) Homepage Journal
    It certainly can be, if the investigation itself is immoral. Surely you've heard of the fallacious "Nuremberg defense"?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @12:05AM (#18327559)
    In point of fact, the trials at Nuremberg involved several defences. Have you read the transcripts? I have.

    One of the biggest points of the defence was that the court did not have jurisdiction. Why not? Because it was not a court established by germans, in authority over germans, by any recognised process nor accepted by germans either. Particularly, the people being tried were being tried after the fact for acts which, at the time and in the place performed, were not criminal in the jursidiction which held sway. The court didn't bother to respond to this at all beyond casually sweeping the objection aside.

    And not a few of them were taken from there to a place of punishment where they were hanged by the neck until dead.

    This is the problem with suspending habeus corpus; the right of appeal and the limitations of applicable jurisdiction no longer afford you protection. It's as if farmers got rounded up and taken to the High Court of PETA Justice (once the revolution of animal-respecting violence takes place) at which they were tried, convicted and executed for raising cattle for the meat market during the current regime. (Note for the hair-trigger knee-jerk idiots out there: I'm not comparing jews, gypsies, mentally troubled, politically unpopular, homosexual or otherwise unpopular figures with farm animals. I'm comparing the activities with respect to legislative circumstances.)

    Let's be clear about this: if national independence means anything whatsoever, at the very least it defines jurisdictions; where the law and system of one place stops and another place starts. To charge people for things and ignore jurisdiction is as biased as simply establishing a kangaroo court of any other sort. If you want another example, somewhat less charged than the Nazi trials, I would like to point out that the age of consent in much of Europe is substantially lower than that in much of the USA. Ditto drinking ages. Should the french government hunt down and lock up or hang BATFE agents for persecuting young drinkers? That's the logic of Nuremberg for you.

    To close the loop of relevance: welcome to the world of globalisation. Different jurisdictions mean different obligations. If you want american companies to run by american rules, ban them from maintaining servers and networks outside the USA, or running them by non-american rules.

    And see how far that gets you.
  • Re:well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @12:15AM (#18327647) Homepage

    Come on guys...If there are sites like Hail Hitler or Long live Osama or any of the creepy fellows wont u like those to be blocked...

    No, I don't want them to be blocked. They have as much right to say "Hail Hitler" as I have to say "Hail Linux." You can't censor somebody because you disagree with their opinion.

    Or r u supporters of neo-nazis...

    I'm a supporter of their right to free speech.

    May be some assholes will try and glorify the WTC attack. Then what happens lets see *100rabh ducks*

    Somebody already glorified the WTC attacks. There have been at least a couple movies...

  • by yali ( 209015 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:00AM (#18328055)

    You want to play in India, you play by their rules.

    If your motto is "don't be evil" and India's rules require you to be evil, then you shouldn't want to play in India. Otherwise you're an evil hypocrite.

  • Their new mantra? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:24AM (#18328215) Homepage
    Don't be evil (to white people living in western nations.)

  • by Monty ( 7467 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:38AM (#18328321) Homepage
    The problem is, we're talking morality here, not law. Google's motto is "do no evil", not "break no laws". Applying your logic to morality only leads to relativism, where there ceases to be any absolute good just because there's multiple subjectively valid claims to it. And it's this that really bugs people. With that kind of thinking, "evil" means almost nothing at all because the line between good and evil is a moving target.

    And correct me if I'm wrong, but there is such a thing as being tried for legal acts in foreign countries. Canadians and Australians can be tried in their home country for sex tourism abroad.
  • Shouldn't play? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rumith ( 983060 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @03:14AM (#18328783)
    So, should they stop their UK operations as well, since UK is a 'surveillance society'? Should they close their French and German departments, because these countries censor pro-Nazi and revisionist websites, among other things? Should they abandon Russia because Putin is building his 'vertical of power' with sometimes questionable methods? Should they say goodbye to the United States as well because the US is the world's largest aggressor, and has killed millions of foreign civilians in the past 50 years? FACE IT. All governments are evil. That's not good, and that's not bad: it's a fact of life. A government cannot behave like a Barbie-playing girl. Governments are there because they have might, and as soon as they lose their might, they are displaced by a revolt or an invasion.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @03:29AM (#18328837) Journal

    Then change the system, don't hold on to the old days when the real world didn't know about the internet.

    I come from the BBS era and as such have gone through that magic time when the internet was just for techies. Nobody knew about it and it was a grand time. No ads, no spam, no leet speak, just men, real men and stuff geeks cared about. (Star Trek ASCII Porn mostly)

    And then things changed, more people found out about it and with them came the coorperations, the criminals (often hard to tell the difference) and finally the politicians.

    The early days of the net are over, no longer is it free and unregulated because nobody knew about it, it now has to live in the real world.

    What you describe above has always been illegal, good or bad, that is the way your country is run. For a couple of years the internet was a safe heaven, a new playground were the rules were not yet enforced. Great BUT it sadly has made many of us think that this was going to last forever or even worse, that this was a normal state of affairs. That somehow it is NORMAL for there to be a HUGE and PUBLIC yet totally unregulated segment of daily life.

    Simple example, child porn. Trading it in the real world has been illegal for decades in most countries, if you were caught sending it through the mail you would be prosecuted and the laws for the police to be able to check the mail are well established. I believe in the US they even got a special police force for doing that. NOBODY seems to protest this capability. Your postal mail CAN and will be checked, customs officials especially can open any package they want. When was the last time you succesfully protested your luggage being seached? Hell, they can even do a full cavity search with absolutly no evidence of wrong doing.

    Yet somehow, for a period of time we could send digital data across the globe without anybody paying the slightest bit of attention. It was great but it was not going to last, sooner or later the real world would notice it and demand that the same laws that apply in the physical world be applied to the digital world. That email should be able to be checked in the same way as regular mail.

    Just because the Internet operated in a grey area doesn't mean that this has become the law.

    Think of it like this, if a black market operates in your area and stays unnoticed/unhindered for years that does NOT make it at any time legal, when the police after a decade finally moves in it is NOT a valid defence to say, "but we got so used to it, please let it stay the way it is".

    We are now faced with the reality that real world laws are finally being applied to the net, no longer do we have this safe heaven that the police hadn't figured out yet.

    We can now do two things, cry about it, pray that the police will somehow loose their memory and forget about the internet once again OR change the laws. Not just the laws regarding the internet but ALL laws that affect us.

    Don't fight for the right of bloggers, fight for the rights of ALL journalists. Don't protest against snooping on email FIGHT against ALL snooping laws.

    There was a time when you had publicly available usenet groups were people openly posted child porn without even bothering to hide were it came from. That era is past us. It would do a pedofile absolutly no good to protest an arrest because the internet should be free. If a pedophile wants to do what he does he should change the laws in the real world, just because the internet has given them a safe heaven for ten years does not mean that is going to continue.

    Change the world, don't hang on to the past.

    Game over for free-speech on the internet in India? No, it was game over for free-speech in India long ago, the internet just gave you an excuse to ignore it.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @03:41AM (#18328885) Journal
    Who sets the rules, then? Did Google do a referendum or even a poll and determine that, indeed, the vast majority of Indians vote for "we want to be censored, thank you very much"?

    Now I'll admit that I have no experience with India or Indians, but I do have some first hand experience with the USSR (back when it was called that way) and eastern europe, and have co-workers from all over that area. Plus some from various arab countries. And I can tell you that so far I've yet to see major differences. People are people everywhere. Yeah, there are cultural and education differences all right, and even culture clashes when you put people from different cultures together, but at the end of the day most people want the same things.

    Even the exceptions are, strangely enough, not much different from our or your exceptions. E.g., if you want to point out some of the religious fundamentalist nutcases from some area as somehow representative, I can point you to religious fundamentalist nutcases in the west (e.g., southern USA) which are strangely similar. For every Khoran-thumping "we should bomb America/Israel/whatever for Allah" nutcase, there'll be a Bible-thumping "we should nuke the Middle East for Jesus" nutcase on the other side.

    Even if you want to point out some resistance to new ideas in some areas, I can point out at people ranting about the "good old days" and rejecting the new in the West too. There is the same resistance to change everywhere, some just got a head start in accepting it. But if you let them have what they want, overall all societies tend towards the same thing. E.g., for all the Party's moaning about western decadence, China tended to adopt Western consumerism and other supposed bad habits very very quickly when it had a half a choice.

    Etc. As I was saying, I've yet to see any evidence that people are fundamentally different anywhere.

    And more importantly, to get back to Freedom Of Speech, I've yet to see any evidence that people from any area actually cheer at the idea of having the police watching over their shoulder.

    Sure, there'll be plenty who want to tell _you_ what you can and can't say. (Same as in the west.) But they'll tend to not appreciate when someone tells _them_ what they can and can't say.

    And sure, group-think exists everywhere. Doubly so if you can bully them into an "if I say I disaggree, the others will think I'm a pervert/criminal/whatever and ostracize me" state of mind. You have them chest-thump and proclaim any idiocy just to seem like popular/responsible/whatever members of the community. (Again, in the west too.) But again, move them out of that environment, and they'll tend to snap out of it in no time.

    In fact, the funny thing is, a lot (maybe most) cultural clashes with immigrants tend to be centered around their snapping out of it too fast and too far. People coming from areas where they have to watch out what they say or do all the time, often seem to turn to a sort of a "woohoo, here I can say and do _everything_ I want to" state of mind, and proceed to appear thoroughly impolite and disruptive to the locals. If you will, they end up appreciating the whole freedom ideas a bit too much, and not knowing where to stop exercising them.

    So based on those impressions I'll go and say that the freedoms probably _are_ universal truths that all humans can appreciate.
  • It's Hate Speech (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mike70 ( 987961 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @09:55AM (#18331333)
    The groups with banners like 'I hate India' are clearly enganged in hate speech. Tracking them down and stopping them is not cencorship, but is rather required of any responsible government. It is really disappointing to see a portion of usually enlightened slashdot crown defending hate speech or being flippant about it.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito