The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now asked Social Networking sites based outside India to fall in line.Sites such as Orkut and Facebook allow for heavily encrypted exchanges of information
MHA officials are believed to be especially worried about the phenomenon of “scraps” and “pokes” respectively on these two sites.
“Imagine if applications such as SuperPoke fell into the hands of anti-national and anti-social (no pun intended) elements”, remarked a senior MHA official who did not wish to be named. “The consequences could be disastrous, especially considering the lack of sufficient monitoring of Indian users’ walls,” he warned.
Intelligence operatives are of the belief that Jehadi terror cells could work out a sophisticated system of communication by “throwing sheep” at each other using a site such as Facebook.com whose servers the Indian government cannot access. The government has asked all Indian social networking sites such as BigAdda.com, Yaari.com and Minglebox.com to maintain records of all user activity including “change of status, profile picture, favorite sitcoms etc.” in keeping with the law of the land.
It seems that unless their overseas counterparts such as the big two as well as other popular sites such as Hi5, Bebo, LinkedIn and MySpace reach an agreement with Indian authorities on making user data originating and terminating in the country available on demand, they could soon be blocked by local Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Spokespersons for both Google, which owns Orkut.com and Facebook declined to comment till they received any directives in writing. However along with Yahoo, AOL and MSN, both companies were adamant that “the privacy of our users is of the greatest importance to us” though special considerations were being made for “countries in which the growth potential of the market outweighed the prospect of challenging draconian security laws”.
UPDATE 1: (not, really!)
NASSCOM has been receiving numerous media enquiries all through the day. When asked to comment, Ganesh Natarajan (who takes over as NASSCOM Chairman on the 8th of this month) said that he wishes the readers of tech2.com a very happy April Fool’s Day!