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Facebook, Google Argue Against Web Censorship In India

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-it's-unpossible-sir dept.

Censorship 160

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook and Google told the Delhi High Court today they cannot block offensive content that appears on their services. The two Internet giants are among 21 companies that have been asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material in India, and the Indian government has given the green light for their prosecution. Although India is democratic (in fact, it's the world's largest democracy), many fear the country will resort to censorship."

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The people who try to ban Internet free speech (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721566)

Should be made to shut up.

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721584)

No. People are entitled to their opinions, however ignorant they might be. Ignoring their opinions, on the other hand, is perfectly OK. ;-)

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721620)

It is their view that we are also entitled to their opinion that is the problem.

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722490)

It is their view that we are also entitled to their opinion that is the problem.

Isn't it funny to bring such a universal way of communication to your people to censor it afterwards? Anyways, the internet is not like TV, in that you cannot control the sender of the information. This move will just push a little further the accessibility of various anonymisation programs and cryptography, and they won't be able to track what people say anymore, let alone whet they can access.

If anything, the pursuit of the pirates by the *AA has brought us insight in that area.

In the long run, it'll be good.

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (2, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721832)

NO, we're talking about people in government. The should be MADE to shut up.

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721872)

To support censorship - even of support of censorship - is to take the gag into your own mouth willingly.

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721910)

Censorship is what a government does. The people shutting the evil mouths of those in government is not censorship

Re:The people who try to ban Internet free speech (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721952)

Then you should say that you propose to let these old men yell at their clouds in some corner where they will do no harm. Not to prevent them from having their say to all who care to listen.

From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721652)

I believe in freedom of speech. If some individual wants to stand up in public and say that he supports depriving every citizen of free speech and due process of law to help save the profitability of a 90 year old mouse cartoon - then I will defend his right to do that.

For an elected representative to not only do that - but to sponsor or support a bill which does that also - that's a different thing. That's a failure of citizenship, a neglect of your civic duty. These are essential liberties our nation was founded to protect. Such a representative should be removed from office as swiftly as the democratic process will allow, as he's a threat to the security of the Republic and the liberty of its People.

There is no Mulligan on this one, no middle ground. Either you are FOR freedom of speech and due process of law forever and always, or you're NOT.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721746)

But there should be a mulligan.

Everybody in his/her district should get two swings at him/her.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

Torinir (870836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721880)

With a 4 iron. Or a 1 wood.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722030)

Or a 1 wood.

Only on Slashdot would someone refer to a driver as a "1 wood".

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (2)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722494)

Only on Slashdot would someone refer to a driver as a "1 wood".

My driver has a 1 stamped in the bottom, should I send it back?

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721750)

That's ridiculous. You only support freedom of speech for people who are not in a position to change anything?

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721798)

Oh, I'm in favor of legislators being able to say anything they want and propose anything they want - including proposing a law banning free speech. I didn't say they ought to be preempted from acting the fool. I just think the appropriate response is to ensure that they never hold a position of responsibility again.

If you consent to be gagged, thereafter your silence is implied consent. Who knows what evils come then?

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721752)

Either you are FOR America, forever and always, or you're a TERRORIST!

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721932)

I believe when someone argues against our rights process in any way, shape or form, they should first enjoy the fruits of their argument.

If they argue against due process, calling it an affront to law enforcement, they should be shot on sight; after-all, they're arguing for the cops to be judge, jury and executioner. If they argue against free speech, they should be locked in a basement for the rest of their lives. After all, that's what they're arguing for.

You may say what I'm arguing is shocking, but think about it for one second; it's REALLY what they are arguing for, too. "But that's now what they meant!" Of course not. THEY are hypocrites who want to profit from the systematic enslavement of you and if you aren't willing to tar and feather the !%$!@#!'ers out of town, you aren't American.

Let them pass the law, it would destroy the internet, and nickel and dime the recording industry utterly into dust, as it would give the small dog companies the ability to put the big-dog corporate directors and execs in jail for small-time contract disputes.

Remember kids, those trials aren't CIVIL trials, they are CRIMINAL Trials, and at THOSE trials, The judge tells the jury to follow the law TO THE LETTER. "Your big time band ripped off my small-time bands lyrics", Que warrant and CEO of Universal being drug out of his home.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722032)

THEY are hypocrites who want to profit from the systematic enslavement of you and if you aren't willing to tar and feather the !%$!@#!'ers out of town, you aren't American.

No, but you may be Indian, which is what this is about.

It's not always about America!

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722096)

Human rights are about every one, every where.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722206)

Yes, but a blatant copy-paste of a post about SOPA and the US, that specifically mentions how un-American something is, is not useful in a discussion of India and facebook.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722366)

There is pressure afoot to ensure that these bad laws, if enacted, are pressed on India and other countries through treaties. Is that enough to make it relevant for you?

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722558)

Not in a discussion of India proposing censorship of facebook, no.

Re:From a post I made somewhere else, edited. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722540)

It's a difficult thing to wrap your mind around the idea that freedom is recursive. It's always tempting to insert a non-reentrant idea in there, but it just doesn't work - just one breaks the whole thing.

I wish I could say I'm surprised (4, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721580)

We here in the U.S. know that our politicians aren't in the least bit technologically savvy (yes, I'm painting with a broad brush when I say that). Should I be surprised or comforted to know that politicians in any number of countries are also, apparently, luddites? India doesn't seem to understand that what they're asking to do isn't technologically feasible. It would require a gigantic staff of people round-the-clock, judging each and every post and video before they're allowed to be seen by the general public. I understand that India doesn't have much of an issue with having enough workers when your population is one billion, but the cost to implement censorship on such a level? Astronomical. Seriously, if India is really that worried about "offensive" content, then maybe it's time for Google, Facebook, and whoever else they have an issue with, to just pull out and leave India to it's own devices. Or, maybe, the Indian government can get a grip and realize that their citizens aren't all little children needing a Big Brother to protect them from the entire world. The world is too small for nations to be so xenophobic, unless they want to wall themselves in like China and North Korea (and I'm sure there are other examples).

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721642)

No surprise. Politicians are not people that have a passion for creativity (from art to innovation). They are people that have a passion for manipulating and controlling others (and school board members are wanna-be-politicians that failed at manipulating and controlling adults).

The problem with pulling out of India is that, eventually, the issue will be resolved. By then, other companies will have taken over in place of Google, Facebook, etc. There is a distinct possibility this action is being done by the government for the purpose of allowing some unknown government "patron" (e.g. bribery) to be given this opportunity to move in on Google and Facebook (not that I would mind that).

These kinds of attacks (not specifically this exact kind) by many government around the world seem to be happening for one reason or another. Maybe they just resent the fact that the internet was not created by them?

BTW, you forgot Myanmar in that list.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (4, Insightful)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721744)

The world is too small for nations to be so xenophobic, unless they want to wall themselves in like China and North Korea (and I'm sure there are other examples).

Like the United States of America?

Okay, okay, that was rather trollish. But ALL government seeks increased control, it's just the nature of the beast. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are safe. "Land of the Free" rings pretty hollow these days.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721790)

Land of the free-est perhaps?

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (4, Informative)

laird (2705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721844)

"Land of the free-est perhaps?"

You need to travel more. Since 9/11 the US government is much more heavy-handed than the governments of most other countries, and social mobility here (i.e. you can work hard and succeed) is less than elsewhere. So while we like to think of ourselves as free men on the rugged frontier, the reality has changed.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (3, Funny)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721900)

American constitution atleast guarantees free speech with virtually no restrictions applied I believe
Ours doesnt even do that

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721948)

Have you ever heard of free speech zones? They don't care about the constitution (see: TSA, Patriot Act, NDAA, ACTA, SOPA, etc). If doing something won't severely hurt their careers (as maybe it would with SOPA... for now), then they'll probably do it. The constitution is rarely a factor.

Some countries are worse, but I doubt we're the best.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (1)

grmoc (57943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722086)

The Constitution is a wonderful document, but it doesn't guarantee anything. It specifies something.
The Gov't is supposed to follow the specification, at which point we have a guarantee.

Wish it were so.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722594)

A heavily armed populace is what guarantees everything else.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (5, Informative)

laird (2705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722124)

"American constitution atleast guarantees free speech with virtually no restrictions applied I believe"

That's long gone. As an extreme example, look at how for the last several elections' political conventions all protesters were forced into "free speech zones" out of site of the convention attendees and the press (i.e. you have free speech, but only where nobody can hear you). And the police arrested thousands of people to get them off the streets, for the same reason. Of course, all of those people were then released, because they hadn't broken any laws, but only after the conventions were over and the press was gone.

I'm not saying that the US is the most restrictive country - there are some that are much worse - but the constitutional rights have been heavily cut back in the last decade. Strangely, we had much stronger respect for civil rights when we were fighting the UK, the most powerful empire on the planet, than we do now, fighting a small number of desperate terrorists. George Washington, for example, expressly forbade torturing captured British soldiers, even though the British tortured captured American soldiers.

"In 1776," wrote historian David Hackett Fischer in "Washington's Crossing," "American leaders believed it was not enough to win the war. They also had to win in a way that was consistent with the values of their society and the principles of their cause. One of their greatest achievements was to manage the war in a manner that was true to the expanding humanitarian ideals of the American Revolution."

This commitment to our principles was how we won the war against a much larger, more powerful empire. Everywhere they went, pillaging, torturing and killing, they created more opposition. Or, as one of their soldiers wrong "Wherever our armies have marched, wherever they have encamped, every species of barbarity has been executed. We planted an irrevocable hatred wherever we went, which neither time nor measure will be able to eradicate."

Our modern leaders have less foresight. But then, I'm sure that the British in 1776 thought that they were right, too.

Rather than me quote the whole thing, go read it http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1217-30.htm [commondreams.org] .

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721748)

I really wish people who've obviously been to neither place would quit lumping together China and North Korea without even thinking about it.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722638)

After consideration, I'll continue to lump China and North Korea together as oppressive, totalitarian states. And no, I have no desire to go to either, or any other country where people exist solely for the benefit of the ruling class.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721814)

But what do you do when a majority of the citizens ASK the govt.(by rioting and destroying public property ) to be a "Big Brother" and make sure only U rated content is available everywhere: books,news,TV,Internet,etc?

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722170)

an extremely small minority of the people ever resort to rioting to make sure only U rated content is available. any educated, sensible person is very unlikely to hold such an opinion. also, fuck them. the constitution of india guarantees me free speech. if you're gonna start censoring stuff on the web, you're in violation of the constitution itself.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721830)

We here in the U.S. know that our politicians aren't in the least bit technologically savvy (yes, I'm painting with a broad brush when I say that)....

That is an excuse.

If you are a politician it's your job to be familiar with issues that face your constituents. Not familiar with technology, get learning.

If I can't use the ignorance as an excuse to get out of trouble when I break a law, then the politicians damn well better get familiar with the issues they are voting on, if not, that is a big failure on their part and even a bigger failure on the people voting for that person.

 

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (2)

darkstar019 (2320432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722216)

imo, this is a political gimmick before elections and the government wants to ensure social media be capped against any campaigns against itself. Other governments have tried to 'ban' specific websites, but netizens can subvert this lock down through different measures. What these uneducated lawmakers do not realize is that banning few websites would only incite resentment and bring about more immoral content into the cyberspace.

Re:I wish I could say I'm surprised (3, Informative)

priyank_bolia (1024411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722330)

I agree it isn't technologically feasible, but anyone in India have the right to file a case in court. But don't worry, the pace at which judgements are delivered in India, human would have abandoned the mother earth and we all would be governed by the Galactic Empire laws. :P Also I don't think Indian govt. has any wish to create the gr8 wall of India. But things are different here, you can publish a cartoon in Europe, burn some book in US, but in India, it would mean communal riots, and millions dead, so I guess its OK for the govt. to step in sometimes and take care of their little children.

Makes you wonder (2)

deatypoo (1837038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721582)

With population over 1 billion people, it makes me wonder what kind of democracy is actually applied in that country. Even winning an election 51 to 49 (supposed it works that way over there too), it would leave over 500 million dissatisfied...

Re:Makes you wonder (4, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721596)

What really makes me wonder what they are thinking is when they suggest blocking of 'offensive' content, as though that's not a subjective term.

Re:Makes you wonder (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722002)

And what makes me wonder is that companies capable of identifying and taking down audio and video tracks (censoring on copyright basis), claim they cannot block posts? (not that I agree with any, but I really wonder why. I'm guessing you're spot on with subjectivity)

Re:Makes you wonder (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722094)

Because extracting the meaning from natural-language is a very difficult task. It is one of those things trivial for humans, very difficult for software.

Re:Makes you wonder (3, Funny)

KramberryKoncerto (2552046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721618)

In many modern "democracies", you can with with 99% and then almost everyone is dissatisfied.

Democracy vs. liberal democracy (5, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721876)

It makes no sense to throw in the line about India being the "world's largest democracy".

All that that means is that India holds elections, and that it has a lot of people.

It doesn't mean that (as in other 3rd world democracies):
-India has a guarantee of freedom of speech like in the US
-India has constitutional protections for "life, liberty, and property"
-You can refuse to testify against yourself (an important protection against torture)
-The government doesn't censor (plenty of stories on RIM, etc., on Slashdot re: that)

The word you're looking for is "liberal democracy", i.e., a democracy in which an emphasis is placed on liberty.

Re:Democracy vs. liberal democracy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722044)

Mod parent up. Democracy does not ensure liberty. It just ensures that people can vote. Liberal democracies on the other hand are built on a strong constitution that protects the liberty of the citizens in conjunction with independent courts. And I am sorry to say that most liberal democracies are being eroded to just being democracies.

Re:Democracy vs. liberal democracy (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722188)

-The government doesn't censor (plenty of stories on RIM, etc., on Slashdot re: that)

there was no censorship in the rim case, it was a breach of privacy, allowing the government to intercept bbm messages, etc.

Ah, and this is why democracy is failing (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722374)

Democracy should not be "winner takes all" if you win with a 51% majority, you should take into account that the 49% have to be accounted for in your policies and not gloated over and made to regret voting against you. You are elected by 51% as the leader of all.

If as in the US, the parties are so evenly split, then the message should be clear, the populace as a whole wants neither extreme and therefor a middle ground must be reached. Abortion rights but with a strict process. Socialized health care but a sober one perhaps.

In Holland we are experiencing something far more extreme. The VVD (Liberal, pro-business or as Americans would label them, pinkos) is the current ruling party IN a coalition but the polls say that they are now sharing the largest party title with the SP (Socialist protest party (logo red thrown tomato), or as Americans would label them... lets not kid ourselves Americans would run screaming in terror at so much red)... so... should they rule together as the leader of the SP has suggested?

A few years ago, the killed Pim Fortyun and the now retired SP leader had a similar dilemma, both grown very large on the disatfication with the existing parties BUT showing that the dissatifaction lead people both to to the left AND the right. And not extreme right or extreme left either no matter what some extremists like to claim to further their own cause.

It is easy to go for "winner takes all" and ignore the other half but all that leads to is US style politics in which it is all out war between the parties and nothing gets done anymore because the next election might swing the vote in your favor so why agree to anything the current winner suggests?

(political) Shooting of someone else's shoulder (5, Informative)

webanish (1045264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721586)

An analysis here [firstpost.com] suggests that the target of Internet censorship was against political blasphemy rather than any generic web censorship. Its worse than a state trying to censor the web as consistent with their national policies; in this case the 'ruling government' is molding laws as it sees fit to its political advantages. Only one of the so called complaints by the ministers was deemed a national security threat.

Re:(political) Shooting of someone else's shoulder (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721842)

I imagine the censorship will also encompass historical/nationalistic blasphemy -- there is a very strong ultra-nationalist movement in India, which seeks to recast (pardon the pun) the country's history as a mythic, self-serving narrative.

Re:(political) Shooting of someone else's shoulder (2)

darkstar019 (2320432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722186)

Damn right, This is a kind of knee jerk reaction from the government after the recent agitations against government, which used the social media for coordination. The GOI does not want a repeat of bad press against it as was the case in the 'India Against Corruption' movement recently. The offending gestures made against different religions is a mere hogwash.

Re:(political) Shooting of someone else's shoulder (2)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722196)

this is true. this thing is all about one idiotic (and corrupt) minister (Kapil Sibal), trying to control online media to prevent people from criticizing the prime minister and others in the government. nothing to do with 'offensive' content.

No Free Speech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721590)

in the Kwik-E-Mart :(

Democracy != Freedom (3, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721614)

Why does anyone still believe that democracy means freedom?

Re:Democracy != Freedom (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721634)

Why does anyone still believe democracy means democracy?

Re:Democracy != Freedom (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721760)

I don't like this new system where money means speech. People with more money have more to say.

It is not that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721654)

Reason that it is being discussed and is in court is good enough for not making it succeed. Courts in India have been much closer to western idea of individual freedom, so I hope that it would not get much further than govt. idea of getting cheap shot at conservative idea of censoring what it does not like.

A good portion of political class is still thinks internet is like print media which can be controlled and regulated. It would take time, but they will learn to use it rather fight it.

Re:It is not that bad (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721826)

Reason that it is being discussed and is in court is good enough for not making it succeed. Courts in India have been much closer to western idea of individual freedom, so I hope that it would not get much further than govt. idea of getting cheap shot at conservative idea of censoring what it does not like.

The High Court has already given its go-ahead for the prosecution
Thats bad enough

Re:It is not that bad (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722190)

Occasionally high courts go crazy. Usually, either the bench rules sensibly, or it goes to the Supreme Court, who do the right thing in about 99% of cases.

Besides, this is only the Delhi High Court, who's writ extends to the whole grand National Capital Territory, all of 1500 square kilometers. A ruling in this case shouldn't be binding on the rest of the country. And finally, the court really has no power to make this happen. That power is with the government, who probably won't this being an election year, their backs being against the wall in several corruption cases, and that's before considering that enforcement of any such thing would rank next to impossible.

I'm not particularly worried, except for the shameful scene of the Delhi High Court comparing us with China! Seriously, China?

Cows...mmmm. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721712)

What are they going to deem, "objectionable material"? Dead cows?
McDonalds-dot-com being omitted from searches, because they advocate the grinding and consumption of beef?

Like I said before about China... (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721740)

... the reason why the United States of America (may) remain the most powerful, prosperous country* in the world isn't because we aren't the best or most efficient or smartest.

It's because (it seems) invariably our competitors screw up in a big way. With China it's when their authoritarian government can't keep the lid on their repressed people, with India it's because their chaotic government can't promote effective policies. So let's hope that America's creatively destructive democracy hasn't wounded itself too much (thanks Bush) and will regain its balance. (Actually, hoping that the U.S. will outcompete China, a country 4x its population, is probably a bit much. How about a close second?).

As I've gotten (much) older, I'm wondering if I see a personal corrolary to this; I've seen people do well not because they've had spectacular successes but because they've managed to avoided catastrophic failures. Sort of like the tortoise and the hare I guess.

* prosperous BIG country; I know Switzerland, Singapore and Qatar are richer on a per capita basis but they don't have nukes. Or Facebook.

Re:Like I said before about China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721758)

Actually, both Switzerland and Singapore have Facebook. Qatar bans it.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721834)

Sorry, I should've been more explicit. I meant the country that CREATED Facebook (or Google or Apple). I was going to say MTV (as an example of American cultural hegemony) but it seemed a bit dated for those young whippersnappers out there. ;)

Re:Like I said before about China... (3, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721890)

USA didn't create Facebook, a bunch of people living in the USA created Facebook.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721926)

I think many people would agree that it was the socio-political-economic-educational environment that ALLOWED those people to create Facebook (and Google and Apple). How many OTHER population centers in the world are the same size as the Boston area or Silicon Valley (or Hollywood)? Now how many world changing inventions or works of (commercial) art have come from them?

Most telling is the number of IMMIGRANTS (like the founders of Intel and Google) who came to America to realize their dreams. Proof that like retail, for innovation it's all about location, location, location.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1, Flamebait)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722082)

I came to US in 1993, and I completely disagree with US idea of "freedom". Immigrants such as myself came to US because their home countries were destroyed or went through massive political disasters (often provoked or exacerbated by US). We don't love you. We don't care about you. We certainly don't care for your ideological crap. We can adapt to anything -- replace stars on your flag with swastikas or hammers with sickles, or start praising Cthulhu in your stupid giant churches, and we won't notice.

Re:Like I said before about China... (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722194)

Immigrants such as myself came to US because their home countries were destroyed or went through massive political disasters (often provoked or exacerbated by US).

That sure sounds a lot like the Roman Empire... didn't they also have a lot of people in Rome from other parts of their empire, and not necessarily because they really loved Rome?

Re:Like I said before about China... (1, Interesting)

TechGuys (2554082) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722156)

What? Do you honestly think no other country could have created those? For example we had multiple local Facebook equivalents since like the 90's. Widely used in my country too, with almost all teens and young adults being on those services. Similarly there was search engines, in fact in larger countries they even to this day dominate Google (In Russia Yandex, in China Baidu and in South Korea Naver)

Ah, Qatar... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721860)

...land of the wise. How I yearn'st for peace from 'Here's some activity you may have missed on Facebook', as I gaze upon thy sun-kiss'd dunes....

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721916)

... the reason why the United States of America (may) remain the most powerful, prosperous country* in the world isn't because we aren't the best or most efficient or smartest.

.....

As I've gotten (much) older, I'm wondering if I see a personal corrolary to this; I've seen people do well not because they've had spectacular successes but because they've managed to avoided catastrophic failures. Sort of like the tortoise and the hare I guess.

Come on, the reason the US is prosperous is due to adequate leadership and coming out of both world wars far better off than any of the pre-war powers.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721978)

Good point but we've seen other competitors seem to begin to challenge American dominance (Japan, now Europe) and then something messes up. Looking at this from a very long perspective, one could say that the world wars (at least the second one) was a very catastrophic failure on the part of Germany/Japan due to their overly authoritarian government (I'm winging it here, I'm not a historian).

But I could be wrong! So we'll see what happens with China, I've heard their leadership described as "the Harvard Alumni Association with an army" so I presume they're competent. India just looks too dysfunctional.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722106)

India just looks too dysfunctional.

India made a mistake on trying to build an economy by growing production of things that are completely worthless in India and depend on foreign consumers/clients -- all the outsourcing crap, call centers, etc. That's pseudo-economy, it is colonial in nature, it encourages complete indifference to the results of work, and inevitably results in fraud.

As far as I know, India does have actual economy, however to develop it, they have to kill the parasitic pseudo-economy that sucks resources from it and produces mis-educated people who can only eat and pretend to be Java developers.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722232)

China does appear to have a more competent government than the US, FWIW. There do seem to be some rising tensions there, but if the govt there is smart they'll be able to relieve those tensions without things exploding. The fact that they have a rapidly-growing middle class and rising prosperity will probably keep most of them happy; people don't care that much about govt misdeeds when things are good overall, esp. if they're getting better (and in China, they have been; just look at where they were 30 years ago compared to now).

India seems to be the poster boy for dysfunction in a national government.

WWII was a failure for Germany/Japan not really because of their governments (which were popular with their people at the time), but because they were too aggressive with their imperial plans and invasions, starting a giant war that they lost. If they had gone much slower, they would have done much better.

But as for "something messing up", America seems to be making its own giant screw-ups these days.

Re:Like I said before about China... (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722528)

Looking at this from a very long perspective, one could say that the world wars (at least the second one) was a very catastrophic failure on the part of Germany/Japan due to their overly authoritarian government (I'm winging it here, I'm not a historian).

Neither lost because of an authoritarian government but i guess the non-authoritarian governments (and the USSR) ended up out numbering and isolating them.

The Media has said Counties have challenged the US their lead is still massive.

Have a look at what the authoritarian Communist government of China has archived since it got power they started with a pretty poor situation.

Three Bears and their porridge (1)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722046)

Remember the story about the three bears and their porridge? (one was too hot, the other too cold...)

Well the only countries large enough to challenge the U.S. are the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China). So in the spirit of the three bears...

China's government is too authoritarian
India's government isn't authoritarian enough
Brazil's government/society isn't focused enough on the future (education)
and Russia's government is too corrupt and they're facing one hell of a demographic problem maybe because "without a vision the people perish.". It seems there is no visionary leadership in Russia, just everyone grab whatever you can.

Just more late night musings. (I'm back in the U.S. now, no longer in Vietnam talk about a f-up government).

Meet the retard who started it all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721776)

blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/01/16/meet-vinay-rai-indias-censorship-crusader/?mod=WSJBlog
Seriously, there isnt a single line said by him that makes sense

Re:Meet the retard who started it all (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721850)

He says: "It is the right of every Indian citizen to voice his/her opinion against what he deems objectionable." Would it not also be every Indian's right to voice their own opinion regardless of whether someone else sees it as objectionable? No matter what you say, someone, somewhere can and will take offense to it. It is the way of humanity to have dissenting opinions.

Re:Meet the retard who started it all (3, Interesting)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722234)

vinay rai is probably a paid puppet hired by this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapil_Sibal [wikipedia.org]
he is a minister in the government and there was a huge public outcry when his attempts to force facebook into censoring stuff were leaked by the press. so this vinay rai is just another tactic to subdue the issue and get a court order so that facebook has no option but to comply.

It's hilarious (0)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721836)

...how people from the country that gave us the War on Drugs and the War on Terror and state-approved assassinations and warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention without trial and the DMCA and SOPA and PROTECT-IP can get so upset when other countries do stuff.

It it because Jesus is on their side?

Control of content (3, Insightful)

singlevalley (1368965) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721858)

It is a sensitive time in indian politics, the new generation (kids) of the current politicians are all set to make their splash into active politics. And if there is free press, then their family scams will start haunting them as well. so, in order to neutralize this, the current government wants to muzzle the free press and internet. Follow the fate of the public lokpal bill to understand what i mean. Of course, that is just my opinion, and i could be wrong.

democratic eh? (0)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721864)

how's that democracy working out for the Utouchables? hardly get beaten or raped at all, much, compared to fifty years ago?

Re:democratic eh? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721992)

Its working out pretty well for them.
Today the many Chief Ministers (like Governors in US) and MPs (like senators in US) are from "untouchable" class which would not have been possible without "that democracy".

Just so that you know, "Untouchable" in India could vote before blacks could vote in Home of the free.

Re:democratic eh? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722036)

how's that democracy working out for the Utouchables?

Now you just HAD to drag Chicago politics into this...

Re:democratic eh? (3, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722260)

hardly get beaten or raped at all, much, compared to fifty years ago?

Yes, actually... Things are improving, though there's a long way to go. It's a flawed process, but the point is, it's happening

At least we didn't continue with the practice for a good 90 years after independence, fight a civil war over it and then spend the next 100 years not actually granting civil rights to those who were supposedly "freed" by the civil war...

Not the least worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38721870)

Court cases in India run for an average 4-5 decades. I'm sure Google and Facebook would have found solutions to this and many more problems by then.

Re:Not the least worried (1)

singlevalley (1368965) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722018)

ah, but you forget the "special" courts that the political class can setup, if it suits them. they can then be staffed with pliable judges, and then it is anybody's guess as to the result. the Supreme court is the only place where there seems to be a modicum of impartiality, for now. National security, those magical words can do some terrible things.

Re:Not the least worried (2)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722278)

Not above the magistrates' courts. The judiciary in India are not really appointed by the executive; they' have to be selected by a collegium of judges, and it usually goes by seniority at the next lowest level (I think they can co-opt eminent lawyers at the high-court level too). They can be quite bullish and independent. Which means that sometimes they do stupid things (present case, for example), but at least it's not from government influence

We were badly burned by Indira Gandhi's tenure, and since then, there hasn't been so much influence peddling in these matters. Some corruption, yes. But normally they're quite jealous in protecting their independence from the government.

Google, Facebook etc. should block India (2)

rcasha2 (1157863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38721936)

Since the court said that Google/FB/others must filter their content or be blocked, these sites should go along with the latter option and block all requests coming from India. It shouldn't take long for India to be clamouring to be let back in and offering that judge's head on a platter as a peace offering.

This should be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722016)

Let them censor it. With a country that big, they'll learn the true wrath of people who have nothing better to do than screw around online. If there's one thing I learned, it's that there's no faster way to start a riot then by giving the people who are angry at you a whole lot of free time with nothing to do at all.

The fear of loosing control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722042)

Politicians around the world are totally POed that they have no control over internet. They are not able to use it to their favor they way they can use print and tv/radio since the cost of entry is very low. This another example of the same SOPA/PIPA .

Everything is fine till you tick off Govt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722050)

Everything is fine in India till you tick off Govt. or ruling party and the its first family. Dont speak against them. If you do, they will chase you down and make you shut up or else you are locked up with all kind of frivolous charges. [msn.com] Like Subramanyam Swami [wikipedia.org] who is behind exposing the biggest scam [wikipedia.org] India have seen in recent years also for exposing head of ruling party [janataparty.org] .

Damn lies (0)

Meneth (872868) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722076)

Facebook and Google are lying. They can and do censor all their networks. They have processes in place to remove content at will. For example, in the USA these processes are used by copyright holders via the DMCA.

absurb (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722136)

Free speech is not a liberty, it is a reality.

India has full internet access right now (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722182)

Just plug in "India" instead of "Canada" or "United States" or "America" in any of a bazillion opinion pieces on censorship posted to slashdot over the years.

i.e. Just search it.

Re:India has full internet access right now (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722192)

India's legal system is based on the UK-British system, the same as Canada's, the same as every Commonwealth Country I know of.

The same arguments apply as to why "Censorship is bad, m'kay?"

Money talks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38722318)

They should just buy india :P

I'm all for it (4, Insightful)

Leo Sasquatch (977162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722380)

Just as soon as we get a cast-iron definition of 'obscene' or even 'offensive' that applies to everything correctly for everyone.

It's okay, I'll wait...

Because, of course, language is never going to modify itself to route round censorship. No-one has ever invented entire new sub-tongues like polari, or thieves' cant to discuss dangerous or illegal subjects in plain sight without detection.

I wish these idiots nothing but the best with their endless game of Whac-a-Mole (TM).

An Indian's take on this (I am late late, though) (1)

HauntedGhost (2075374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722556)

The thing is our politicians are crackpots when it comes to technology (infact, in most of the areas where they can't "earn" their share). The leading whiner, Kapil Sibal, claims that the content on web may hurt communal feelings. But, most of the people who are backward enough to getting hurt by such content don't use web at all. Those who use are tech-savvy enough to ignore such contents. One reason behind this step was that contents abusing the politicians of the ruling party (mainly, the party head Sonia Gandhi) arose in the social networking sites and search engines. So, the most logical solution for these guys is to block the content. Of course, we Indians know that it is totally retarded. And India is a democratic nation for a reason. If people think what the government is doing is wrong, they won't let that happen. Indian citizens rallied against government in mid-2011 to stop it from introducing a crippled anti-corruption law. I am confident that the sites won't be censored in India, not until there is democracy. The current government has anyways done enough harm to the country so as not to get elected again.

Re:An Indian's take on this (I am late late, thoug (0)

HauntedGhost (2075374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38722568)

Oh, and this step taken by the Indian government is negligible to what the US government was going to impose: SOPA. Also, as of now, nothing is being censored in India. And no one, but the politicians, have any objections for the web content. We Indians enjoy and believe in freedom as much as other do. Trust me on that.
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