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Censorship Government The Internet Politics

Orkut In Pact With Indian Law Enforcement 88

food4thought writes "The Economic Times reports that Orkut has signed a pact with Indian Cyber Crime Cell. They have now pledged to block any 'defamatory or inflammatory content', or hand over IP address information to police if asked.' Deputy Commissioner of Police (enforcement) Sanjay Mohite said the pact means they do not have to go through the lengthy process of asking the Central government to communicate with Orkut. The practice so far has been to first send a request to the Centre's computer emergency response team in New Delhi. This team processes the request through its channels and even if a forum is finally blocked, the "culprits" still remain untraceable as no IP addresses can be obtained ... "Now we can do away with the process and not just directly ban content but also obtain details of IP addresses and service providers quickly," Mohite said.' How long before we see these 'informal arrangements' elsewhere?"
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Orkut In Pact With Indian Law Enforcement

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  • by Tester ( 591 ) <(olivier.crete) (at) (ocrete.ca)> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @11:25AM (#18941413) Homepage
    Seems like Google's moto of "Do no evil" has been replaced with "Do more profit"
    • Well, that's what the bottom line is about now :(

      OTOH, there a lot of sites that moderate their user-created content (if reported/moderated by other users) too. And AFAIK, there has to be some form of moderation in any site regarding "defamatory or inflammatory content." Any site that doesn't do so is just asking to be trolled, vandalized and mutilated till people take their content (forums, vids, pics, etc.) someplace else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by WeblionX ( 675030 )
      "Do No Evil*"

      *Offer only valid in the US, Canada, and Sealand.
    • Isn't this the second time in the last 3 months that Indian police have announced increased powers of censorship over Orkut? One of these days reporters in India will get the clue and actually try to understand what it is they're reporting on. I believe last time this came about, Google pointed to their handy tool. I have got to imagine it's difficult to figure out what's actually going on in India, with such careless journalism.
  • Can someone summarize for us non-Indians wtf Orkut is?


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Wow, you're incredably lazy, it says in the SECOND SENTANCE of the article. Its a google-run community site.
    • Orkut is a social networking site like myspace that has been completely overrun by Brazilians. It's impossible to use it without swimming through a sea of Portuguese any more.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        So, this is effectively a non-story then. Unless there's been a sudden surge in Brazilian immigrants to India, that is.
        • "Mom! People are saying bad things about Google! Mom!"

          "I'm sorry, I can't stop them. That would be cen-sor-ship. All we can do is whitewash this as a "non-story" and completely ignore the fact that Google is willing to censor more and more things in the name of the almighty dollar."

          • I couldn't care less. I use Google as a search engine, and that's the extent of it. If I was using a MySpace clone that decided to censor opinions, I'd use a different site.

            People really need to stop complaining for the sake of complaining when shit like this happens. Don't like it? Stop using said site. Reduce their ad dollars, and only then will they change their stance. Also, keep in mind that a large majority of these "community based" sites' users tend to be either kids or morons, neither or whic

        • So, this is effectively a non-story then. Unless there's been a sudden surge in Brazilian immigrants to India, that is.

          Yes, it's a non-story. Any infrastructure that has been set up by the Indian government for political suppression on the Internet is now rendered useless. Nothing like Orkut will ever appear in India again- that is the only social networking site that will ever be available to a billion people or whatever it is down there. In fact all social networking sites around the world will quickly be
  • Oh dear! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @11:28AM (#18941461)
    Now it'll be impossible to post "holy cow!" anywhere on Orkut...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @11:32AM (#18941523)
    Will anyone sponsor me to submit my 'one-click arrest' patent?

  • What's an Orkut?
  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @11:51AM (#18941817)
    On reading TFA, sounds a bit flaky...

    "The pact, which is actually an "informal arrangement" called the Priority Reporting Tool, comes as a big surprise to internet users as Orkut has succes, just thsfully blocked attempts by various countries to control content."

    "Now we can do away with the [old, slow, but govt. controlled] process and not just directly ban content but also obtain details of IP addresses and service providers quickly...the IP addresses will enable the [police] cell to track down people who have posted messages and book them if the need arises, police officials said."

    No mention of legal oversight etc.

    Mind you, perhaps we'll all gotten too blasé about the supposed freedom & anonymity of the 'net. After all, if you defame someone in traditional print, you can be sued in most places if it's not fair or truthful. Still, as I said, the smart badboys aren't going to be worried about this...plenty of internet cafés and open (or openable) hotspots around..
  • To the uninitiated (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Orkut is like Myspace for Indians (and Brazilians, Pakistanis). Every one of my Indian friends (I am Indian too) is a registered user on orkut. I guess that says a lot about this article's impact.
  • I'm an Indian..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aneeshm ( 862723 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:00PM (#18941943)
    ...and I'm fucking pissed.

    This is the worst sort of intimidation. Bal Thackeray is a politician. If content against him can be censored, we've reached the limit. The government already blocks websites it deems "hateful". Unfortunately, the definition of hateful includes anyone who dares to criticise the communists, or Islam. The current government stays in power because of the support provided by the communist parties, so they can get ridiculous things like this passed.

    Simply put, this is the first step in an exercise which promises to put an end to freedom of information on the internet in India as we know it. There was an incident where, some time back, the whole of blogspot was blocked. The government doesn't run a firewall a la China, they just ask ISPs to do it. Because there exists no independent ISP (all private players have to lease bandwidth themselves from the government - it's a state monopoly), they have no choice but to comply.

    I am so completely pissed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by metamatic ( 202216 )
      Well, I just deleted my Orkut account. Fuck 'em.
    • by dodobh ( 65811 )
      What made you think there was EVER any freedom of speech? I suggest you read the terms of the ISP license first. I work in that field, and I know precisely how bad the situation is.

      You do know that there are conflicting laws abuot encryption in India? All strong encryption is illegal under one law, and mandatory under another, so whatever happens, you ARE a criminal.
  • <sarcasm>
    How are we suppose to protect civilians with those pescky civil rights getting in our way? It will be so much easier to protect people when we lock them up in jail.

  • No kissing! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @12:06PM (#18942079) Homepage
    Yeah, the Indian authorities want to keep people from kissing in public on Orkut.
  • by Otter ( 3800 )
    Sincere question: does anyone (or anyone outside Brazil) still use Orkut? I haven't heard it mentioned outside of legal issues for a couple of years. I'd go look myself, but for some reason Orkut and MySpace are the two sites we have blocked at work.
    • Sincere question: does anyone (or anyone outside Brazil) still use Orkut?

      Yes, it's quite a rage here in India and the subcontinent. You could consider it an equivalent of MySpace out here; every teenager (and 20 somethings) with access to the internet has at least one profile on it.

      And it's a decent networking site; I regained contact with many of my school friends there.

  • What would your reaction be if google started handing over IP addresses in China? Remind you a certain reporter and Yahoo?
    • But everyone here loves Google. If this were Yahoo there would be 400 comments, 90% negative. Slashdotters ignore their beloved Google doing evil.
  • Reading the details in the story. even the earlier "process" had no judicial oversight and was run by the federal cops. The only difference now is that the info can be requested directly by the state cops instead of going through the center, and it is thus faster.
  • A private company can choose to disclose information to the government if it wishes. Our two concerns is that a) the law contains safeguards against police abuse and b) the government is not prosecuting people for innocuous activities. Other than that, does India block access to offshore sites of similar nature? If not, set up your community in a country with decent laws.
  • The funny thing is that there was another article that was on Slashdot [slashdot.org] a few months ago. It was titled "Google Aids Indian Goverment [sic] Censorship". Now in response, a Google spokesperson had said (quote via Boing Boing [boingboing.net])

    The reporting tool that was offered to authorities acts as a hotline to Google Inc., allowing the authorities to communicate requests for removal of content to us. The reporting tool does not give the police any privilege other than a speedier vehicle to notify Google Inc. about flagged

  • I was on Orkut... for less than 45 days. Deleted my account.
    I personally feel that these *social networks* are nothing more than a waste of time.
    My friends cite it as a useful resource to keep in touch with old friends... Comm'on. Isn't a mail enough if you *really really* want to be in touch? Communities (though not all) are crap too. The only thing worth on Orkut is the B'day ticker ;) But then it's a trade-off that you need to calculate.
    I'd like to know how many people belong to my category (or I belo
    • orkut is not good for maintaining contact with old friends .......
      well for those who dont like it ,it is the way ,but for some it has been gr8 help in finding old friends .as for using other means it is not primarily used for remaining in contact with frnds u have now ,but same way as batchmates and classmates with some additional easier interface to interact with them
      • easier interface to interact with them

        Agreed completely. I cannot and will not deny the fact that those scraps are pretty easy and straightforward ways. (Though a "reply" button in your mail interface is quite similar :) )
        But what about the trade-off?
        Not all, but *most of* the people spend there time moving from one profile to another to another.. looking at the albums, reading their testimonials. That's why the title goes "Get a Life".

        It's really funny. I used to meet some people in the day time and

    • My friends cite it as a useful resource to keep in touch with old friends... Comm'on. Isn't a mail enough if you *really really* want to be in touch?

      Several of my friends from school have found me through my myspace page, which I have only because people look there to find people and facebook is a spammer.

      • facebook is a spammer.
        WTF? Facebook networks are so well organized compared to that of myspace. IMO, MySpace is for pussies who would love to color up their page with glitter..
  • When I tried to access my Orkut account on the morning of April 16th, I got an "Unable to Connect" message. I just assumed that they were having some temporary problems. When I couldn't login on Tuesday, I thought maybe the company had tightened down the firewall, so I tried later that evening from home with the same result. So I did a Google search to see if anything had been reported, and found a Wikipedia entry. Other than that, it seems very few people noticed this security problem.

    From Wikipedia: "On

    • by lintux ( 125434 )
      Oops, that's not very nice. What if you log into your GMail account, shouldn't Orkut automatically recognize you too then?
  • This is evil. It is a great chill on freedom of expression. Not only is some nation able to censor citizens worldwide through Google's help but ISPs and possibly individuals all over the world are open to hassle and further chilling of freedom. Google, STOP THE EVIL now!
  • Buhwahahahahaha!

    People, you seem to forget google is yet another huge corporate behemoth whose main aim is to make money and make shareholders happy. If that means oppressing people and aiding repressive regimes, that's what they will do.

    Don't forget, google has huge development centers in India and they need the presence there. They can't afford to p*ss off the Indian govt. If that means handing over your IP address, SSN, name, password, DoB, and medical history to the govt, they would do it.
  • First of all this is old news. First discussed around mid march of 2007. The only thing that Google is doing different is that it has given Mumbai Police some priority helpline. Someone from http://www.contentsutra.com/ [contentsutra.com] was able to the response of a Google rep. who said the following

    Response from a Google spokesperson by email, quoted verbatim: Google Legal team met with the police from various states and offered a special priority reporting tool that will enable them to have a direct line of contact

  • The country recently went nuts because Richard Gere kissed a woman on the cheek (face cheek, mind you) going so far as to issue an arrest warrant for the actor:

    http://www.nwfdailynews.com/article/3522 [nwfdailynews.com]
    • Guess you can see what happened to the judge who tried to act over critical. Guess u can google that out

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