Sunday, October 28, 2007

No security to Privacy and Identity on the net

No am not talking about hacking am not at all talking about porn sites or low grade sites. I am talking about Yahoo! and Google.

According to a report by a consortium of telecoms and finance companies, including BT, Yahoo and Lloyds TSB, 8% of internet users have been victims of online fraud. Almost double that proportion know someone who has been targeted by criminals through their computers.

In the year 2003, a Chinese pro-democratic activist, Wang Xiaoning was arrested by the police with the help of his private information that Yahoo provided the police. Wang had been using an anonymous e-mail account to participate in a Yahoo Group to disseminate his political views. He advocated open elections, a multi-party system, and separation of powers within the government. In addition, he called the Chinese government despotic.

Google was thought to be very strict and protective in regard to the identity and private details of its users until recently, when three software professionals were arrested by the Pune police with the help of Google Google traced the telephone number that was indexing the profiles of these people and supplied this information to Cyber crime officials of Pune. All these guys did was they used bad language against a king named Shivaji who used to live centuries ago. This was surely bad behavior but the question here is 'Do they deserve to get arrested?' A Warning from the Google or account removal would have been enough punishment.

Lets put aside freedom of speech and expression and concentrate on the privacy and identity threat onliners are facing. This is indeed an ethical break down on the part of these online service providers. Another example of forgotten ethics by Yahoo is the recent removal of Iran from its list of world countries in its sign up page. Where does the fault lie? Is it with the officials working in the gain companies or is it that the companies should revive and tighten their privacy policy?

> A letter written to Yahoo! by an young Iranian journalist.

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