Friday, June 25, 2010

The Search Debacle Of Google India

Some of our news and search results at Google have been systematically removed from the news search and Google search. Through this post we are trying to analyse what may be the reason for the same. The latest to face censorship at the hands of Google is our article regarding civil liberty violations by Indian government through projects like Aadhar/UID Project, Natgrid, CCTNS, etc. These projects are not supported by any law and they are also violative of right to privacy and other constitutional rights of Indians.

Meanwhile, another Blog entry of one of our authors disappeared in similar fashion from Google search engine. We presumed that the controversial nature of the entry forced Google India to do that. This does not discourage us and we reposted the entry again here. Now this entry appeared in Google search engine but once again disappeared. Is Google trying to suppress this issue by brute force and without clarification.

At times you may feel frustrated by the fact that your article or news appearing at the Google news database or search engine disappears without any reason. You may consider it as a technical glitch or attribute the same as some mistake at your part that forced the Google to remove the contents.

But what if this becomes a routine activity that also regarding only those news or search results that are deemed to be controversial by the government?

Obviously, this is a deliberate and systematic act on the part of the search engine and government of a nation where that search/news database is operating.

Many of our articles and news are systematically removed from time to time by Google India. Initially we thought it to be a technical glitch. However, when the frequency of this exercise increased and many of our news and articles disappeared without any reason or cause, we were forced to write up this piece of our apprehension. It may be right or it may be wrong, you decide the same and enlighten us.

The government of India gained draconian, unconstitutional and illegal e-surveillance, Internet censorship, website blocking and many such Orwellian powers through the information technology amendment act, 2008 (IT Act 2008). The IT Act 2008 amended the sole cyber law of India i.e. information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) and conferred unregulated and unreasonable e-surveillance and censorship powers upon Indian government and its agencies. Till now the Indian government has not prescribed procedural safeguards and guidelines subject to which these Orwellian powers can be exercised. As a result the government is using these powers without any accountability and transparency.

Obviously, all tech companies and search engines must also comply with the official as well as unofficial, legal as well as illegal demands of Indian government and its agencies. It seems Google India is doing just the same.

Now since the words and deeds are out an explanation from Google India in this regard would be appreciated. We may be wrong in our analysis but then we cannot be wrong on all the occasions.

We would also keep on posting about any such incidence in future when we face similar problem from any tech company or search engine.

UPDATE: Thanks to CIO platform and other people and supporters, some of the search results in Google Blog and Google Search have reappeared.


Identity Thefts Are Increasing In India

Gunjan Singh

Identity thefts are on rise in India. This is due to the lax cyber law of India. Indian cyber law is incorporated in information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000). IT Act 2000 was amended by the information technology amendment act 2008 (IT Act 2008) and it made the cyber law of India a very weak law. So much so that the present cyber law of India has made India a safe heaven for cyber criminals and all sorts of cyber crimes are being committed in India.

To aggravate the situation, Indian police is not aware of cyber law and cyber crimes. Even the officers at the Cyber Crime Investigation Cells like Mumbai are clueless regarding cyber crimes. Even their boastful claims regarding cyber forensics capabilities are false and groundless.

We would cover more identity thefts issues I general and cyber crimes in India in particular in our subsequent posts. It would be better if the government of India makes suitable amendments in the cyber crime friendly legislation of India.

Exclusive Techno-Legal Cyber Security Research And Training Centre Of India (CSRTCI)

V K Singh

Cyber security in India has not received the attention of Indian policy makers. As a result India has witnessed many sophisticated cyber security attacks against its computer systems operating at crucial departments and places from time to time. Even the terrorists are using technology to further their nefarious objectives in India. The problem is that Indian government, like any other government, is not capable of tackling cyber security issues single handedly. It needs private sector support to achieve this task.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of the exclusive techno-legal cyber security research and training centre of India (CSRTCI), cyber security in India needs an urgent rejuvenation. He informs that till now Indian government has not thought it fit to consider cyber security as a part of National Policy.

It is obvious that India is finding it difficult to gather necessary cyber security expertise and this is resulting in a weak cyber security. Fortunately, private initiatives like CSRTCI are bridging the much needed gap of cyber security in India. The centre is providing techno-legal solutions for areas like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, critical ICT infrastructure protection, cyber war, etc. It is also providing techno-legal solutions for Indian projects like CCTNS, Natgrid, NCTC, etc.

CSRTCI also maintains a “repository” of software and tools for areas like cyber security, cyber forensics, penetration testing, malware analysis, encryption, stegnography, etc. It also maintains a rich techno-legal literature, articles, databases, etc for ready reference.

However, the most important and crucial achievement of the CSRTCI is that it has an “Exclusive Techno-Legal Repository” of software and research literature. It also has expertise for “aggressive defence” and human rights protection in cyberspace. In short, it is a single place destination for the techno-legal cyber security and allied fields.

The government of India and private sector of India must concentrate upon cyber security as soon as possible. Further, there is an emergent need to make proper amendments in the otherwise impotent, weak and ineffective cyber law of India. The increasing cyber crimes in India is also attributable to the “welcoming law” of India incorporated in the information technology act 2000 that instead of deterring the cyber criminals is in fact encouraging them to indulge in cyber crimes.

CCTNS Project Of India Needs Techno-Legal Expertise

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project Of India (CCTNS Project) is a very ambitious project of Indian government. It is the most comprehensive modernisation and reformative initiative of government of India to streamline law enforcement in India till date. The project is in its initial stage and it may face both technical as well as legal challenges and civil liberties issues.

CCTNS is a plan scheme conceived in the light of experience of a non-plan scheme namely - Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA). CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Pan of Govt of India. CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing through adopting of principle of e-Governance and creation of a nationwide networking infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled-state-of-the-art tracking system around 'Investigation of crime and detection of criminals'.

The objectives of the Scheme can broadly be listed as follows:

1. Make the Police functioning citizen friendly and more transparent by automating the functioning of Police Stations.

2. Improve delivery of citizen-centric services through effective usage of ICT.

3. Provide the Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with tools, technology and information to facilitate investigation of crime and detection of criminals.

4. Improve Police functioning in various other areas such as Law and Order, Traffic Management etc.

5. Facilitate Interaction and sharing of Information among Police Stations, Districts, State/UT headquarters and other Police Agencies.

6. Assist senior Police Officers in better management of Police Force.

7. Keep track of the progress of Cases, including in Courts

8. Reduce manual and redundant Records keeping

Under the CCTNS Project, approx. 14,000 Police Stations throughout the country has been proposed to be automated.

The modernisation of police force in India cannot be successfully achieved till India acquires a techno-legal expertise. However, at least a good beginning has been made by Indian government and it would go a long way in modernisation of law enforcement in India. The government must, however, enact a suitable legal framework that can protect civil liberties of Indians from excessive police acts.