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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Neo Colonialists

A hundred years back, no white man in India felt that he or she should be subjected to any laws by any "native Indian"'. Only an Englishman could judge or be trusted to judge an Englishman fairly. The result: no Indian, however senior, could be a judge over any case that involved the British. British judges, in cases which involved blatant transgressions by the whites, including murder, were mostly racist, and the accused got away lightly. The Times of India would be the watchdog for the British, utterly parochial and racist, keeping guard that no justice would ever be done to any Indian.
If you thought those days were over, you just have to follow the case of Blackberry, the global multinational which provides cellphone services across the world. In blatant violation of the conditions under which it was allowed to operate in India, it has been encrypting its services, and Indian enforcement officials have not been allowed to "listen" to selected customers.
During the Mumbai attacks, the terrorists were using Blackberries, not the "satellite phones" that we have been told they were using. Our police have neither been able to eavesdrop nor trace the calls, thanks to Blackberry's non-cooperation. But Blackberry has been allowing US officials eavesdropping facilities in America, and also other governments in much of the world. They apparently have problems only with places like India.
Blackberry had the nerve to refuse the Indian government which wanted both the code and listening facilities, at a meeting last month. The UAE banned Blackberry services after a similar refusal by Blackberry last month there, and one hopes that the Indian government follows the lead of that tiny country.
The only refreshing change has been the attitude of the cheerleaders, watching from the sidelines.Unlike Times of India a century ago, the New York Times today has a refreshingly non-racist attitude to the whole thing, which you can read below:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/opinion/10falkenrath.html
The NYT concludes its analysis of the case in a simple way : "But in the end, it is governments, not private industry, that rule the airwaves and the Internet. The Emirates acted understandably and appropriately: governments should not be timid about using their full powers to ensure that their law enforcement and intelligence agencies are able to keep their citizens safe."
Ofcourse, we'll probably hear the US ambassador in the next few days drop a veiled warning that banning Blackberry services in India will hit US investment, or CII/FICCI, issuing a statement, urging the Indian government to reconsider the situation in the interests of the Indian image abroad. Bet every single businessman whose company is a member of CII or FICCI is one of the estimated one million Blackberry users in India....at times watching these jokers in action reminds one of the Marxist's axioms about the "comprador" class in each country, the handmaiden of international capital.....

1 comment:

  1. Blackberry can't have two set of rules... how has it now bowed down to Saudi Arabian government. Can India, the economic superpower not get Blackberry to go by its valid demands.... we can do without blackberries... nation's security is more important.

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