links for 2009-02-17

17 Feb
  • Shankar Sharma’s and Devina Mehra’s lives turned on them. All their branch offices closed down, their properties were attached, their home and offices were raided 26 times, their computer hard disks and servers were seized. They were banned from trading on the stock exchange, which was their livelihood, their bank accounts were frozen. They were physically detained three times, Shankar went to jail for nine weeks without bail under a law that had been repealed a year and a half earlier by Parliament, and within the year, they received over 300 summons for personal appearances from various departments and agencies of the government. The Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Excise Department, the Department of Company Affairs, and the Reserve Bank of India all investigated Shankar and Devina. The Income Tax Department raided them 15 times. Twenty-two cases were filed against them under the Companies Act, plus one FERA case and five FERA civil proceedings.
    (1) They live here. You don’t. (2) If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That’s why they call it ‘fur’-nature. (3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people. (4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly.
    Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they (1) eat less, (2) don’t ask for money all the time, (3) are easier to train, (4) normally come when called, (5) never ask to drive the car, (6) don’t hang out with drug-using people; (7) don’t smoke or drink, ( 8) don’t want to wear your clothes, (9) don’t have to buy the latest fashions, (10) don’t need a gazillion dollars for college and (11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children ..
    (tags: pets)
  • Next time you feel outraged, violated, abused, don't let it go by and add up to your list of litanies and complaints. Stand up and take it to the limit – at least your own limit. Not in the same way as they wrong you, but in the way that every citizen, at least in theory, is entitled to complain and protest…
    If are up to it, start right now…
    It is not Bangalore that is going to the dogs. It is us. We have far too long become accustomed to let everything go. And the more we let things go without any protest or fight, the dormant criminal and dark elements of the society get that much more encouraged. Every time we turn the other way, the hooligan next street gets incentivized to push the boundary a little further, provoke a little more, try something a little more atrocious. It is time for us to refuse to let this go on. We are responsible for making ourselves proud. Lets believe in ourselves. We can do this.
  • And yet, the newspaper caved in last week. Why?
    Two reasons explain this. One is the ridiculous section of the Indian Penal Code S 295 (A) — which allows anyone offended by anything to demand that what offends him should be banned…India is a multi-everything country with a billion people, and the possibility of such disputes is endless.
    And that’s where the second reason comes in: the failure of the state to protect rights…Anyone who can take umbrage, does; and his hurt feelings take precedence over others’ right to express themselves freely. Instead of protecting the right of free expression, the state defends the offended, thus circumscribing meaningful debate.
    …It deserves the state’s protection. Instead, the state threatens the editor with jail. Result: the world’s largest democracy narrows its discourse, talking about less and less in public, breeding more and more resentment in private. And a newspaper that could once challenge the highest of the land is made to grovel.
  • Ultimately, Facebook’s stance can be summarized as “trust us, we won’t do anything bad.”…
    In the end, this fiasco isn’t going to change the way I use Facebook, and I imagine it won’t do much to alter other user’s plans either. Their terms of service, like those of any other company operating on the Web, are designed to put their interests first, and eliminate just about any potential legal risk that their lawyers can think up.
    Once again though…Facebook has done a poor job of communicating the changes, leaving Zuckerberg on the defense instead of proactively keeping users informed on potentially controversial moves the company is making.
    Chances are Facebook won’t abuse the privileges they are granted under their TOS…But as a user, it’s another reminder that what you do on the Internet is probably permanent, and much of it, probably outside your control.
  • The possible implications of this TOS change go beyond these concerns. Sure, you can choose not to use Facebook at all, but that doesn’t mean a thing. Someone can still take your photo, slap it on Facebook, and now neither you nor the author of the photo can stop Facebook from using the photo in whichever way they please.
    Looking at it globally, millions of people are uploading bits of information on everyone and everything, to a huge online database, and by doing so they’re automatically giving away the rights to use or modify this information to a private corporation. And not only that; they now also waiver the right to ever take it back from it.
    Facebook should take a long, deep look into how it treats its users. Until now, users had options with regards to how the data they generated on Facebook was used. Now, they have no options whatsoever, rather than quit the service altogether. It’s a major difference; I’m not going to take it lightly, and neither should you.
1 Comment

Posted by on February 17, 2009 in Links


One response to “links for 2009-02-17

  1. Joe

    February 22, 2009 at 8:48 am

    the fact that Facebook change their TOS back so quickly is like an admission that they knew they were wrong


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