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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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  • "Don't be evil"?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fabs64 ( 657132 ) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:03PM (#18326451)
    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.
  • That's nothing! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:13PM (#18326535)
    Thats nothing. Read below the comments on the article, where police blame Orkut for helping organize a party where drugs were used.

    Seriously. Orkut used to organize party = Drugs used at party = Orkut bad? I don't think so.

    I thought India was atleast a pretend democracy?
  • Re:"Don't be evil"?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by antonyb ( 913324 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:36PM (#18326717)
    Honestly not wanting to troll on this, but is it not possible that the definition of 'good' depends on the locale they are operating in? The idea that Freedom of Speech is 'good' and Censorship is 'bad' is not necessarily a universal truth?

    I dunno. Too early to be thinking about this stuff.


  • Re:"Don't be evil"?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 241comp ( 535228 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:46PM (#18326803) Homepage
    Well, our country was founded on the belief that those are natural (or unalienable) rights (that is, rights that exist in and of themselves, outside of government). They were explicitly stated so that there would be no confusion because they were among the most import of such natural rights. This does not prove that "The idea that Freedom of Speech is 'good' and Censorship is 'bad'" is a universal truth, but our country was founded on the belief that it is a universal truth... that must count for something.
  • Re:well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by giminy ( 94188 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @10:51PM (#18326841) Homepage Journal
    Well if Google doesnt bow to the Indian government they will lose money. The "dont be evil" mantra would seem to contradict this move.

    Quite right. Which means, by extension, "don't be evil" and "IPO" are a bit at odds. Pulling out of India over this means lost shareholder revenue. Lost shareholder revenue means lawsuits. Lawsuits mean suffering...

    So yeah, I would say "don't be evil" died a while ago.
  • by thrawn_aj ( 1073100 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:01PM (#18326923)
    Mod parent +1 (or at least 1 :P)Insightful. (C'mon! "Troll" is a little harsh LOL)

    Precisely. I am an immigrant Indian living in the US and I personally feel insulted by that bias, positive as it may be. It results in a weird kind of prejudice wherein if you do something outstanding people are like "well, duh, they're all like that. Big effing deal :P". And under achievement (relative to the OTHER Indians) is reportedly grounds for deportation in some IT companies. To be perfectly clear, I have experienced the first one personally. Since I don't work in IT (merciful Deus :P), I have only heard of the latter (probably hyperbole so please don't bore me by responding to it all at once :P)

    It's quite simple - Gaussian distributions are fairly universal. We have our share of nut cases in India, as also religious fundamentalists that could make Pat Robertson blush (well, that's not possible, but you get my drift. Luckily, no one like Ted Haggard as yet =D), awful movies that seem to be cast out of an industrial mold, and idiots of every variety. Also of note are the "lazyass armchair historians" who feel that it is enough to have a rich heritage but who make no effort on their own part to build a better present or plan for a glorious future.

    In short, India is just like any other country, including this one. There's good folks and bad folks. There's eminently sensible people on the one hand and the farking idiots on the other. Am I surprising anyone here? :P

    More to the point, I am a member of the social site they mention (Orkut) and it's a little silly that someone actually sues Google for "anti-Indian sentiments". Sheesh, get a thicker skin FFS :P. Why would any sensible person be offended by the comments of some random hate monger? Too much time on their hands I suppose :P. Treat opinions like spam people. You just don't read them all. *roll*

    The thing about the underworld dons is a horse of a different color. What non-Indians should know is that the "underworld" in India is NOT exactly analogous to the mafia here or the drug cartels in South America. It's a far worse problem than that. To be more precise, the specific don named Dawood Ibrahim can probably be characterized as the Indian version of Osama Bin Laden crossed with Al Capone. In other words, terrorism coupled with the usual kind of racketeering. And there's more noobs like this guy. The Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) blasts of 1993 is a good example (I was actually in school near where they happened back then *brrr*). There's some more recent stuff as well, which I have not been following much in the news.

    Suffice to say, if Indians wanted to establish something akin to the Patriot Act, these are the dudes who'll be first on the dinner menu :P. So, not SO crazy in this PARTICULAR instance. I would suggest that they not try to close them down though. Illegally hacking into them and monitoring them might be more profitable in the long-term ;-). What are Intelligence Agencies for anyway? LOL

  • by kraemate ( 1065878 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:27PM (#18327213)
    Thats the local beef-vendor.
    It would have been the police had you started a community on the lines of "OMG! PaKiStan is teh roxxorz.. iNdIa is komplete sucks"
  • Re:"Don't be evil"?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by homer_s ( 799572 ) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:40PM (#18327335)
    Just curious - would the US govt be interested in message boards where ppl are discussing how to bomb a building?

    Then why shouldn't the India govt be interested in boards where people are planning/ inciting the next riots [wikipedia.org]

    . Of course, having observed how the riots always occur at convenient times for the local politicos, I don't believe for one minute that this has anything to do with public safety. But I do question the holier than thou attitude adopted by many Americans over free speech when their military has willingly killed journalists [artvoice.com] many [counterpunch.org] many [guardian.co.uk] times.
  • Re:Mumbai (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XchristX ( 839963 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @12:34AM (#18327837)
    Bottom line is that it's about revitalizing our culture, to which we have every right. The original name of the region was "Mumbai" (after Mumbadevi the Sea-Goddess of the fishermen). If the Irish can call "Dublin" "Baile Átha Cliath" then we can call "Bombay" "Mumbai" for the same bloody reasons.
  • Iran (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @12:49AM (#18327961)
    So far Google has caved when secular governments have gone after people for civil disobedience.

    I wonder what they'd do in an officially Muslim like Iran if someone posted a blog saying, "I was a Muslim but I converted to Christianity", and the government demanded that Google turn over that person's identifying information?

    If Google refused, then they're giving up on the broad claim that their presence a blessing to a country regardless of what censorship / person-finding they assist with. If they went along with it, then they show the true vacuousness of their "moral" reasoning.

    I don't want such a test case to arise, but I'd be (morbidly) curious to see how it plays out.
  • by Jimithing DMB ( 29796 ) <dfe@nosPAM.tgwbd.org> on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:18AM (#18328167) Homepage

    After reviewing the articles I've come to the conclusion that while I don't condone investigating people for hate-speech against India that I see no problem with investigating the source of a mob boss fan club. Even applying the U.S. constitution (which of course India is not held to) I would see no problem with this. The police can and should investigate something like this. If it turns out it's someone not connected to the criminal then that's fine. But if it turns out that it's part of a conspiracy to drum up public support and poison the jury pool then that is an entirely different matter. Who's to say that this anonymously submitted article is not part of that conspiracy?

    I believe Google did the right thing by turning over records to the police. Anonymity is not sacrosanct. Freedom to say what you want is, and if that is not allowed in India then that should be changed. However, impeding a criminal investigation is not a good way to bring about change.

    I wish I could point out a specific attribution but it's not a new concept that one must work within ones societal rules to change society for the better. I believe it is mentioned at least a few times in the new testament and most likely in other religious and philosophical texts as well.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.