Saturday, February 04, 2012

Govt withdraws cases against Google, Facebook; To use their storage and search

The Government of India has withdrawn the cases relating to posting of objectionable content against Google and Facebook, Kapil Sibal, central minister of Communications & Information Technology stated in a press conference today.

Sibal had earlier stated that companies must pre-screen content before making it available on the web. Last month, the government had also sanctioned prosecution of Google and Facebook objectionable content posted on sites hosted by them. Both companies have steadfastly maintained that they cannot be held accountable for content posted on their sites, pre-screening is technically impossible, and it also violates the right to free speech.

The sudden withdrawal of the case comes as a surprise. However, it is learnt that both companies have reached a settlement with the government, and are embarking on Project 1983.365 where they will host various private information that the government has gathered about individuals over time and from the UUID and National Population Register projects. A Google employee on condition of anonymity stated "It is much cheaper to spend a few hundred dollars on large capacity hard disks than the loss of business we would incur if the Government were to force us to stop operations". When asked how the companies stand to gain, the employee said "The data we get from the Government is semi-structured. And will be a wonderful test set for our search and data mining algorithms. We will also provide the government with software it mine data from this store.

Kapil Sibal refused to accept or deny this information and stated that "the Govt of India" is not a big brother and respects everyone's rights.

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