June 09: This is not the first time that Orkut, the most popular social networking site is in trouble. This time it is Shiv Sena, a radical right wing political party representing Hindu sentiments that has appealed the government to ban the website operated by Google. Shiv Sena has insisted the government of the misuse of Orkut which has resulted in hurting the religious sentiments of Hindu majority.
After Brazil (55%) and United States (19%), India (16%) has the third largest number of Orkut users. However, the government of India has no plan to block the site and has ordered for a probe to Mumbai police about the content. Even Google has given access to Indian police to contact it directly.
Meanwhile, the student wing of Shiv Sena is trying to develop software for partially blocking the site. They have also appealed the internet café owners not to allow users to connect to Orkut.
The student group Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena has raised voice against the misuse of website against certain religious groups, Hindu culture, which may further disturb the communal harmony.
In response the Computer Emergency Response Team which has the power to regulate online content and even can block any website is studying all possible ways for dealing with such issues. But as far as social networking sites are concerned, it is very difficult to monitor and identify each and every web page that is abusive in nature. Profanity filters have proved to be of some help but still many loopholes remain to be plugged.
Lat week several Shiv Sena activists entered some local Internet café and vandalized in their usual fashion. The workers are constantly engaged in such activities. The group is part of a growing band of cultural vigilantes opposed to what they see as against those who harm Indian culture. But in their mission they seldom go for proper remedial procedure. It is government’s duty to take proper action and if necessary to block the website and the best that can be done is aware and sensitize the government about these issues.
In coming days Internet café owners may find it hard to operate as more violent protest is expected in various regions of Mumbai. However, it is up to the government whether to block the site or not.
Reportedly, special software is in the process of development that can be installed by internet service provider to block any message or phrase containing sensitive information. Orkut authority and Google has also been informed about this progress.
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