Blog Post

Updated: Orkut To Share Offender Data With Mumbai Police; Google’s Clarification

Updated below: The Indian Express reports that Orkut has entered into an
agreement with the Enforcement Directore arm of the Mumbai Police: as per DCP Enforcement Directorate Sanjay Mohite, Orkut will share IP details of those who post “objectionable content” on Orkut and blogs. Apparently, all it will take is for DCP Mohite to send an email to Orkut.
In a separate story, IE also reports that the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has asked the Supreme Court of India to expand the list of federal crimes to include cyber terrorism. As per the agency, “The rapidity … of adoption of new technologies and innovative … planning and execution of cross-border crimes by organised crime-terrorist nexus has outpaced the speed with which law enforcement agencies at the state level have been able to ‘modernise'”
We know how ineffective and poorly executed the blocking of blogs last year was – the government may have blamed ISPs for poor execution, but several of the sites on that list weren’t even relevant. How does the Police define “Objectionable Content”? Policing content online is a monumental task, and this deal between Orkut and the Mumbai Police is reminiscient of China. This post though dated, quotes discussions between U.S. House of Representatives and Google, Microsoft and Cisco: it’s an interesting read.

Update: Response from a Google spokesperson by email, quoted verbatim:

8 Responses to “Updated: Orkut To Share Offender Data With Mumbai Police; Google’s Clarification”

  1. This is a very bad step for orkut, already there's a mass migration towards facebook by the elite crowd, although this cannot be attributed to orkut's recent pact with police, this retrograde step would only push people like me to stop using their service. It is well known that we lack strict civil liberties and free speech in this country. The internet has always been our last refuge, but if companies like google, which still claim its unofficial motto is "dont be evil", can sign pacts with govt and forsake the liberty and privacy of their users, then i guess its time we took another look at google's policies.
    And what do they mean by objectionable content?
    Do they mean speaking out against tyrannical politicians or govt?
    Do they mean posting of porn?
    Do they mean harassing someone through scraps?
    This objectionable content needs to be clearly defined and if it includes the first 2 mentioned cases, then I am out of orkut.

  2. Akash: I wrote an email to the corporate communications representative for Google India for an official statement. She responded to that email with the statement which I have copy-pasted as the update.
    Thanks for the reminder: I just realized that I've forwarded the blogger collective group mailing list to archives on my gmail. Will go through the discussion now…

  3. Did you ask Google for a response and got one from them through email or some other channel ? Just trying to clarify. There is a lively discussion going on at Blogger Collective mailing list and I had posted link to this blog post with updates from google. Was trying to confirm this from other sources but couldn't find much on this.

    Thank you for your reply anyways.