Vickram Crishna | 5 Jun 09:24 2011
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Re: India Weighing Looser Web Rules

I must confess I find myself befuddled by such articles. Perhaps this is what diplomacy means, that one be kind to people who have been busy stuffing their feet in their mouths, in the larger interest of winning a war rather than each battle.

And, also imho, a sad commentary on the human condition, that everything must be viewed as competition or war, in order for it to be taken seriously. 

Why should India 'weigh' looser rules? Because India, in the form of an autocratic and somewhat deluded handful of officers in the DIT, did not 'weigh' sensible rules in the first place, because those Eichmanns did not respond, (mostly) acknowledge even, public responses (nearly all expressions of horror and dismay, plus positive suggestions for a more kindly policy) that they themselves had originally invited. An empty invitation, as it turned out.

It is a crying shame that this has resulted in an expensive expenditure of public money, and even more pertinently, loss of time. While the executors of the wasteful move may have been government servants (ie ministry officials), the responsibility of the ministers cannot be absolved. It is high time they began practising the high tone of their speeches, and seeing that their ministries do not let them down by doing the opposite. Sweeping political parties out of office and replacing them with their ideological opponents is a very expensive way to bring about reform, as we have witnessed in the past fifteen years since the Supreme Court made its view clear on the role of government in intruding on the private personal rights of Indian citizens under the Constitution.

 
Vickram
http://communicall.wordpress.com
http://vvcrishna.wordpress.com
From: Frederick FN Noronha फ्रेडरिक नोरोन्या *فريدريك نورونيا <fredericknoronha-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org>
To: india-gii-exipcMZXGhE@public.gmane.orgsr.org
Sent: Tuesday, 31 May 2011, 18:39
Subject: [india-gii] India Weighing Looser Web Rules

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355223687825048.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

MAY 30, 2011

India Weighing Looser Web Rules

By AMOL SHARMA

NEW DELHI—Indian authorities are considering revisions to new Internet
regulations after criticism from free-speech advocates and companies
like Google Inc. that fear they could be exposed to liability under
the regime.

The rules, which took effect in April, require Internet companies to
remove objectionable content from their sites, including anything
"grossly harmful" or "harassing," within 36 hours of being notified by
authorities. Executives could thereafter face penalties, including
stiff fines or even jail time, say lawyers who have reviewed the
regulations.

The rules may soon be revised to add greater liability protections for
Internet companies, Minister of Communications and Information
Technology Kapil Sibal said in an interview.

Mr. Sibal said it is fair for the government to ask Internet companies
to put in place codes of conduct that restrain users from posting
certain material online, as the regulations do. But he said it is
"relatively unfair" to expect Internet companies—which are referred to
in the rules as "intermediaries"—to be responsible for third-party
content. "To make the intermediary liable for the user violating that
code would, I think, not serve the larger interests of the market,"
Mr. Sibal said.The backlash after the rules were enacted has been
growing. Civil-liberties groups are expressing fears the rules are too
open to interpretation and could be used by the government to restrict
free speech on the Web. The regulations represent an effort by India
to get a grip on the Web without the kind of direct censorship or
website-blocking practiced in countries like Iran, China and Saudi
Arabia.

He said ministry officials are trying to "apply our minds and see if
the regime can be made more rational."

In its defense earlier this month, India's ministry said the
restrictions rightly require that Internet companies observe due
diligence in order to enjoy exemption from liability for content
posted by third parties. "These due diligence practices are the best
practices followed internationally by well-known mega corporations
operating on the Internet," the statement said.

Google was among the companies and nonprofit organizations that
offered feedback on the rules before they went into effect. The Web
giant unsuccessfully sought changes to limit its potential liability
for third-party content and to scale back a list of banned material
that it said was "too prescriptive."

The rules also require removal of content that is "ethnically
objectionable," "disparaging," or that "harm[s] minors in any way."

On Monday, a Google India spokeswoman referred to a previously issued
statement on the matter. "If Internet platforms are held liable for
third party content, it would lead to self-censorship and reduce the
free flow of information. The regulatory framework should ideally help
protect Internet platforms and people's abilities to access
information," the statement said. Google has faced requests in many
countries to take down content including social-networking profiles
and YouTube videos that foreign governments or users find
objectionable.

India is one of the world's largest Internet markets, with a user base
estimated at more than 80 million. That represents only a slice of its
1.2 billion-strong population, leaving room for growth.

Mr. Sibal, who wasn't the telecom minister when the act was passed, is
trying various efforts to boost Web usage. He plans to bring 500,000
villages online within a few years by laying a massive fiber-optic
backbone and using wireless devices to let Web traffic travel the
"last mile" to rural households.

He said the government has to be careful not to get in the way of
Internet companies trying to build up the market. "We need to ensure
that we don't put conditions which are adverse to the efficient
functioning of the intermediaries," he said. Despite his interest in
relaxing the new rules, however, Mr. Sibal said Internet companies
must "take into account the sensitivities of the countries in which
they're operating."

Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Centre for Internet and
Society in Bangalore, said his organization and other civil liberties
groups are preparing legal challenges to the regulations on
constitutional grounds.

He said the groups will broadly argue that the rules have put in place
arbitrary and unclear restrictions on speech and have gone beyond the
scope of the Information Technology Act of 2008, the law on which they
are based.

Mr. Abraham welcomed Mr. Sibal's interest in potentially revising the
regulations. "If Kapil Sibal gives this his personal time...there's a
good chance the next version would be more robust in terms of
constitutionality," he said.

Write to Amol Sharma at amol.sharma <at> wsj.com

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355223687825048.html#ixzz1NvLVTZad


------------------------------------

Thanks to ZestMedia. FN

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Kiritkumar Lathia | 6 Jun 07:36 2011
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I paid a bribe

An interesting story finally on BBC web-site and hence doing a round on Indian bribery problem



which leads to the simple address: http://ipaidabribe.com/

May be worth supporting and blogging about?
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sarbajit roy | 8 Jun 03:30 2011
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Re: I paid a bribe

A better place to start would be delving into the people behind the
website and their links with urban mafias and foreign entities :-)

On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 11:06 AM, Kiritkumar Lathia
<kplathia@...> wrote:
> An interesting story finally on BBC web-site and hence doing a round on
> Indian bribery problem
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13616123
> which leads to the simple address: http://ipaidabribe.com/
> May be worth supporting and blogging about?
> ____________________________________________________________
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>
>
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Unknown | 8 Jun 06:57 2011

Faces of Gmail: Hareesh Nagarajan

Just noticed this feature on Gmail today:
Faces of Gmail: Hareesh Nagarajan
http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/faces-of-gmail-hareesh-nagarajan.html

--
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Suresh Ramasubramanian | 8 Jun 07:10 2011
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Re: Faces of Gmail: Hareesh Nagarajan

  Frederick FN Noronha फ्रेडरिक नोरोन्या *فريدريك
نورونيا  [08/06/11 10:27 +0530]:
>Just noticed this feature on Gmail today:
>Faces of Gmail: Hareesh Nagarajan
>http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/faces-of-gmail-hareesh-nagarajan.html

If he's the only indian guy sitting in mountain view i'll eat my hat. Gmail
does these profiles on a pretty regular basis.
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Gautam John | 8 Jun 07:21 2011
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Re: I paid a bribe

On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM, sarbajit roy
<mail.sarbajitroy@...> wrote:

> A better place to start would be delving into the people behind the
> website and their links with urban mafias and foreign entities :-)

Tongue in cheek, I assume?

By way of abundant caution, it's run by http://www.janaagraha.org/
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Sarbajit Roy | 8 Jun 17:26 2011
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Re: I paid a bribe

Very Tongue-in-cheek. Incidentally Ramesh Ramnathan & I both attended the same engg insititute (BITS-Pilani) and I remember ragging him.

On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 10:51 AM, Gautam John <gkjohn-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:
On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM, sarbajit roy <mail.sarbajitroy-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> A better place to start would be delving into the people behind the
> website and their links with urban mafias and foreign entities :-)

Tongue in cheek, I assume?

By way of abundant caution, it's run by http://www.janaagraha.org/
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Kiritkumar Lathia | 8 Jun 22:17 2011
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Re: I paid a bribe

My intention was very simple:


Given that:

- I remember that we all agreed that in India there is tremendous corruption at all levels and even if there were "clean" ministers or Heads of Departments, they would get nowhere with their babus and netas who seem to "control" bribery
- there is a power in ICT technology to diffuse information (mostly through social networks such as facebook/twitter/...) and this has been remarkably successful in North Africa to have "regime change" (Tunisia, Egypt and even Gulf States, Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, ... where the government is finally doing something to modify its behaviour)
- the last few days/weeks in Delhi still shows that Government in India will not allow overt protest against corruption by hunger strike ...
- the web-site I mentioned seems to have had some effect in one part of India (Bangalore) where bribery has been removed through (ICT based) applications for driving licence and actual test (yes it is only one area but it is promising ...)
- the reality still is that many who decry bribery are still "forced" to pay (for whatever reason)

therefore
-  why not support one initiative which seems to be bringing results and try to make it better rather than pontificate and denigrate?

the other alternative is of course the simplest thing ... do nothing ...

my idea was that this group would be able to assist and improve the one application of ICT technology which is for the good of all Indian citizens and for the country ...


On 8 June 2011 17:26, Sarbajit Roy <mail.sarbajitroy-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:
Very Tongue-in-cheek. Incidentally Ramesh Ramnathan & I both attended the same engg insititute (BITS-Pilani) and I remember ragging him.

On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 10:51 AM, Gautam John <gkjohn-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:
On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM, sarbajit roy <mail.sarbajitroy-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:

> A better place to start would be delving into the people behind the
> website and their links with urban mafias and foreign entities :-)

Tongue in cheek, I assume?

By way of abundant caution, it's run by http://www.janaagraha.org/
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Vickram Crishna | 8 Jun 23:57 2011
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Re: I paid a bribe

Apart from license applications and what might laughingly be called the mandatory associated driving tests, our Regional Transport Offices also oversee vehicle registrations and other aspects of road-related matters, many of which have a counterpoint in law enforcement.

Let's take a case in point. Now, by their very nature, vehicles (and their drivers, of course, nearly always) are mobile. When a vehicle is stolen, for instance, it is often good sense (well, I use the term 'good' advisedly) to move it across a state border quite smartly, where it can then be picked apart for whatever value it can bring (depending on the make, year and model, it could fetch more in pieces, or as a carrier of illicit goods, or any number of curious applications about which criminals tend to be quite knowledgeable).

Of course if the vehicle is spotted before any of these criminal activities take place, there is scope to terminate the cycle of criminal activities. To do so, the vehicle (assuming it is reported lost/stolen quickly enough) theft must be reported, also quickly enough.

Enter ICTs.

The police station (or control room, for that matter, for a telephonically reported theft) can alert all state border crossing points, where there is a chance that the vehicle be stopped and the driver questioned. Even if this is not possible, at manned border crossing points, all vehicle numbers can be noted (of course, this should be done with due regard for the privacy of honest citizens, and the details should not be allowed to persist in the database for more than a very limited amount of time. The same applies to entry points for cities, many of which still collect octroi, hence maintain manned crossing points).

And so on. Even if the vehicle is dismantled and the parts sold as spares, some carry permanent numeric identifiers, such as the main engine block, and the chassis, hence can be traced (provided the numbers are not deleted, which is incidentally not easy to do) subsequently.

My point is that very mundane computer applications, hardly very expensive to set up and maintain, could put a significant dent into the lucrative business of vehicle thefts, which affect us all, because often the vehicle cost is compensated by way of insurance payouts, hence insurance premia are related to crime statistics (or ought to be, but our insurance sector is reportedly very shy of the professional treatment of actuarial figures).

This doesn't happen, one reason being that the RTOs are pretty useless when it comes to data cleanliness and controlled accessibility for their counterparts in other states, as well as to the police. As our listmembers know quite well, and many must have experienced for themselves once or twice in the course of routine visits to police stations for mundane reasons, the police are not well equipped when it comes to using computers in their professional working. Sharing data, and acting on data shared over computer networks, is an even more parlous state of affairs.
 
Our government, in the shape of noted IT expert and Home Minister P "we will fight to the last drop of our policeman's blood" Chidambaram, has decided to fix all this (and anti-terrorism as well) by creating an Orwellian monster of Brobdingnagian proportions, 21 nationally interconnected databases called by the charming and friendly name NATGRID. Rather than taking one step at a time, as people familiar with computers prefer to do, our PC will dive right into the deep end with 21 (oh, such an adult number!) nationally linked databases, all too be managed no doubt by experts honed on the bleeding edge of technology (NIC), and with advice on computer security from CERT-IN, which knows all about security from its successful eradication of international spam kings operating from India.

According to a recent newspaper report, PC has persuaded the Cabinet to let him go ahead with his ill-advised plans (why couldn't he have just called it ORWELL instead of NATGRID? Most people would hear it as All Well, and that might spread a lot of comfort), and they expect to get results in as little as 18 months. I trust they are not Kalmadian months (all the work is done in the last 2 weeks), or months measured in Indian Stretchable Time (1 IST day~16 normal days).

Not because I think his scheme is going to work, so it should be implemented as quick as possible, no. I think it won't work, at least not to reduce crime (it may actually go up, as thousands of 'contractors' pour themselves into the gravy train of NATGRID related hardware and software-related purchases). I think his aim is to track every Indian to whom he can get his stubby little fingers to cling. Vulnerabilities, as we probably all know, are straightforward to exploit.

What do others on this list think? Would you buy a used PC from this guy?

Vickram
http://communicall.wordpress.com
http://vvcrishna.wordpress.com
From: Kiritkumar Lathia <kplathia-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org>
- the web-site I mentioned seems to have had some effect in one part of India (Bangalore) where bribery has been removed through (ICT based) applications for driving licence and actual test (yes it is only one area but it is promising ...)
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Satish Jha | 9 Jun 00:20 2011

Re: I paid a bribe

It may be a small initiative, but several such initiatives may help create something that may address the real issues. More so when India's Governance is hardly open to going back to the drawing board and thinking ahead as a nation, as distinct from smaller issues that have defined vested interests and therefore easier to handle.


At least Swati and Ramesh Ramnathan, who have attained a good deal of respect for his initiatives, has managed to do something positive, a little beyond simple conversations.

On Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 4:17 PM, Kiritkumar Lathia <kplathia-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org> wrote:
My intention was very simple:

Given that:

- I remember that we all agreed that in India there is tremendous corruption at all levels and even if there were "clean" ministers or Heads of Departments, they would get nowhere with their babus and netas who seem to "control" bribery 
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