Yesterday, I came across this Ars Technica article, based on a report on the expressindia.com website. According to the article, an Indian national named Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid was arrested over the weekend after he "had posted his comments in an Orkut community called "I hate Sonia Gandhi" through an Orkut account associated with his Gmail account". The Express India report states that "Vaid was charged under section 292 of Indian Penal Code and section 67 of the Information Technology Act because he created a profile and then posted content in vulgar language about Sonia Gandhi in the community."
The Orkut group, unambiguously titled "We hate sonia gandhi", appears to be a platform for outspoken dissidents of Indian politician Sonia Gandhi to express their concerns and anger. The creator of the group appears to have been left alone, and it is unclear whether or not anyone else was being investigated.
Let me make it clear that I am completely disgusted with both Google and the Indian authorities regarding this issue. Google has shown before that it is a Big Brother-type institution - a circumstantially ruthless data-miner with no respect for its users' privacy - easily persuaded to complying when international power-players twist its arm. Not too long ago was the scandal involving censoring of anti-Scientology results from its searches. That too is a very disturbing indicator of their policy, but this current situation involving Mr. Vaid just gives me the creeps.
In fact, I'm almost certain that writing this very blog post (on Blogger with that) can likely get me into hot water at some point. Actually, it concerns anyone who has the balls to speak up. For all we know, every netizen out there is a target for the Google Thought Police.
While it might be unpleasant to find that someone personally despises you, perhaps even hates you, I find it extremely childish to resort to scare tactics to silence critics, particularly when that person has shown no real threat to your personal safety. Granted, I am not fully aware of what Vaid wrote in the group (maybe someone can enlighten me?), but I feel that it is irrespective to the real issue here. Expressionism does not necessarily reflect our intent - it often just fulfills the purpose of 'screaming our lungs out' about things that matter to us. Perhaps if Vaid had shown genuine intent to inflict harm upon Sonia Gandhi or anyone else, and that intent was clear and backed by proof, his arrest could be justified. But as far as I can see, his arrest was arranged by Ghandi's cronies as a message to critics: 'Insult Us and We will destroy you.'
Freedom of speech is under a barrage of fire.
The Judge's VerdictJudge/Mental sentences Google and all the people involved in Vaid's arrest to thirty years locked up in Josef Fritzl's basement, and finds them GUILTY of being dumbasses. YOU GUYS STINK.