Report mischievous, fake: Didn’t ask Facebook to block #ResignModi tag says Govt

New Delhi, Apr 29: The Indian government said that the Wall Street Journal report that alleged temporary blocking of the hashtag #ResignModi was misleading, mischievous and an attempt to curb public dissent.

The government in a statement said, ” a story by Wall Street Journal attributing removal of a certain hashtag by Facebook to GOI’s efforts to curb public dissent is misleading on facts and mischievous in intent.”

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Recruited on Facebook, this ISI spy spilt details of Army’s movements in Punjab

A joint operation by the State Special Operations Cell and the Military Intelligence led to the arrest of an ISI spy, the Punjab police said.

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Careful what you post on Facebook: The taxman is watching you

facebookShowing off your new car or watch on the social media could land you in trouble. The Income Tax department has decided to keep a close watch on your social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram under a new programme called “Project Insight.”

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Insecure WhatsApp data: SC notice to Facebook, Centre

whatsappThe Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from both the Centre as well Facebook over non-security of data and conversations on WhatsApp. A petition before the court said that there is non-protection of data on both Facebook and WhatsApp which is violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The petitioner said there are 157 million WhatsApp and Facebook users and hence the service provided by them should be treated as public utility service. One it is categorised as a public utility service the government must protect the personal data placed on these domains.

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This Tiger Memon harassed women on Facebook

tigerNew Delhi, Sept 2: Tiger Memon has been arrested in Pakistan. However this Tiger Memon was using the alias and blackmailing girls on Facebook which led to a raid in Karachi in which he was arrested.
Furkhan Ali who also took the alias Tiger Memon was arrested during a raid in Karachi.

The raid was conducted at a cyber café in Karachi after there were complaints that women were being harassed on social media accounts.

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Online presence a plus: ISIS Twitter army soars to 46000

isistwitterTwitter is under immense pressure to undertake a clean up act. Not only is there pressure from India, but from several other countries following a report that there are 46000 Twitter accounts sympathetic to the ISIS.

Each one of these accounts play a major role in propagating the ISIS ideology and for anti terror squads from across the world this is a headache that is growing leaps and bounds.

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Social media terror- Taliban Hindustan

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Security agencies have alerted the Home Ministry at New Delhi about a new outfit called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Hindustan. This outfit has been floated on social networking sites using the slogan Ghazwa e Hind (destruction of India) something that was coined by Al-Qaeda commander, Ilyas Kashmiri.
Although security agencies have found nothing concrete about this outfit barring a Facebook page, they are still not taking things to chance. The Home Ministry which is in reciept of this information is already looking into the activities of this outfit. The page has 98 likes and claims that it is fighting for the destruction of India in order to liberate Kashmir.

Continue reading “Social media terror- Taliban Hindustan”

Modi beats the iPhone

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BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is the most talked about person on Facebook in India beating likes of cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and Apple iconic device iPhone 5s, the US-based social networking site said today.

According to the social networking giant’s top Indian trends of 2013, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and India’s Mars mission also failed to beat the Gujarat Chief Minister, who was the most mentioned person on Facebook this year.

Facebook, which at present claims to have 1.19 billion monthly active users (MAUs), has 82 million MAUs in India for the quarter ending June 31, 2013.

“Take a look at the most mentioned people and events of 2013, which point to some of the most popular topics in India,” Facebook said in a statement. Continue reading “Modi beats the iPhone”

Banana Republic! Vadra bids good bye to Facebook

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The Robert Vadra Facebook page is missing and it appears that the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi closed closed his account following a controversial remark which read-“Mango people in banana republic.”

The Facebook page on which Vadra had posted his clarifications following an expose against him by Arvind Kejriwal is no longer active. It appears that the account was closed or deactivated temporarily at midnight.

There was a furore over his banana republic comment and this had gained a lot of negative publicity after members of the India Against Corruption had sought an apology. The IAC had said that the post on the social media site was insulting as it termed India as a banana republic.
Vadra prior to closing his account had posted, ”Looks like some friends on my Facebook account lack a sense of humor. What ever I post becomes a topic of debate on TV. So I will deactivate my Facebook account now and open a new one with sensible friends.” Continue reading “Banana Republic! Vadra bids good bye to Facebook”

Pseudo handles on social media- What the law states?

The Assam exodus has led to the blocking of several websites, pseudo and generic handles on the social media. Going through the debates on the social media, especially Twitter, it is clear that there is an outrage over the actions of the government as many feel that not only accounts spreading hate messages have been blocked, but some allege that the government is blocking those who have criticized the government.

To begin with, one must realise that this the first big cyber warfare that India has faced and this is probably for the first time in history that there is a unique combination of mobile and cyber technology that has been used to target the integrity of India. Yes, it is true that we have been found wanting and asleep for a month as the response mechanism to what had commenced against our nation a month back is pretty bad.

The government of India according to many decided to get into damage control mode and block various websites which were spreading hate messages. Although blocking is a temporary solution and an ineffective phenomenon, the more important thing is the lack of political will. We say lack of political will because there is proper course which guarantees strong legal action. This means that the crack in the armour have clearly been demonstrated and once we very sadly we must say that we have a toothless tiger in an IT law as most of the cyber crimes are bailable offences. Moreover an amendment when it comes to dealing with crimes committed on the social media and also on mobile phones is very much the need of the hour. To add to the misery we also are searching high and low for a national policy on cyber security and the nation is clueless as to how to respond in such a mobile and computer emergency.

While the government has gone about blacking out some websites, it also should think in a futuristic direction on how to protect our interests on cyber space. Once again the approach has been more reactionary.

According to IT law expert, Pavan Duggal, we have been soft on the intermediaries. The IT act has defined this and social media and mobile service providers come under the category of an intermediary. The law clearly states that there needs to be due diligence and the parameters require social media companies to notify the users that their networks will not be used to publish and transmit any content that is against the integrity of a nation. Despite this if somebody publishes such content and the government notifies these companies, they are required to act within 36 hours, Duggal also points out.

It is crystal clear under the Indian Law and also the IT Act that this law is applicable to any person of any nationality who violates or whose services are within a network within India. This would mean that the intermediaries need to block accounts in 36 hours of being notified if the person is threatening the security of the country. Facebook, twitter and also Youtube are all governed by this law in India. The law is crystal clear and India does not need to hold a begging bowl in case the companies are not responding to the government. The government well reserves the right to prosecute these companies in such an event of non compliance.

Duggal says that India needs to learn from the China experience. The Chinese are clear that if they are targeted on cyber space, then the compliance will be as per their law itself. The argument that these companies which are governed by the US law will not hold good. The Indian government reserves the right to stop them if they do not comply.

The law on pseudo and generic handles- The government began this campaign while acting in national interest. These companies according to experts need to cooperate with the government in matters that impact national interest.

Duggal feels that the government has not been too balanced while banning pseudo handles which have had nothing to do with national security. It is not a desirable development.

Now here is what the law has to state where pseudo handles are concerned. Creating a pseudo handle is violative of Section 66 A of the IT Act and those found guilty are liable to undergo imprisonment for three years and also cough up a fine. When someone creates a pseudo handle say in the name of the Prime Ministers office, he will either have to mention it clearly that this is an unofficial account or a pseudo handle. In the alternate he could also mention in every update or tweet that this is a pseudo handle. Now this is the law pertaining to the handle of a celebrity, authority or organisation.

However there are also the generic handles in which a person conceals his identity and uses some other name. The internet and the IT laws do provide for anonymity. This is not violative of the law, but then again one must draw a line and ensure that the freedom of speech given cannot be violative or abusive in nature.

The experts say that the freedom of speech on the internet needs to be protected and when there is a conflict between security and freedom of speech, the scales would obviously tilt in favour of defending national security. In simple terms it would mean that no matter what name you would tweet or update under, there would always be a distinction between normal messages, abusive messages and also disturbing national security. Although the IT act does provide for separate laws, the basic foundation would be under the Constitution of India covering the freedom of speech. It is clearly stated that freedom of speech and expression should be tempered with appropriate and reasonable restriction.

Duggal feels that the people need to appreciate that there is no absolute freedom of speech on the internet and it is capable of restriction. Although you do have a right to be anonymous on the web, it still does not give you the liberty to give out hate speeches and be abusive.