Friday, 8 July 2011

Argument on "The British phone tapping case and the subsequent shun of News of the World"

Partha: Hey did you hear to this shocker? This news agency had been tapping all the phone calls since .. many years.. now that the Met is also under threat... supposedly many high officials have sold sensitive information..
Preethi: ooh really!! are we talking about a developed country? a western province? The British!!
Partha: No wonder so many questions. Yeah seriously, this is a perenial problem isn't it? So many high profile personnel giving away information for pounds.. now that I feel the local bribes of (100 and 500 rupees) in India is legal.
Preethi: Now come on.. lets not get in to the Hindustan part of it. A crime is a crime no matter how much money involved and whatever be the sensitivity of the information leaked.
Partha: Just for the records, British say, these corrupt police officers (if proved) could be charged with 6 years imprisonment. But there are some petty cases before where the guilty officer was given a 12 months imprisonment. So it also depends on the publicity of the crime? Anyways coming back, no one would have thought that such a thing could have happened isn't it? its a shame isn't it? I am not surprised at all from your reaction.
Preethi: I think you got it all wrong. My shock was because, there was an (news) agency, who could tap phone calls and emails of various people which is totally unacceptable. What is the price that one could pay to enter in to some one else's private life? This is ridiculous and be punished with more than the 6 years of imprisonment.
Partha: Really!! what about the officers who were at fault? Dont you think, this will put all those (crooked) minds in tremour from commiting any such crime in future? Dont you think it will give way to a corruption free environment? Dont you want it to be so?
Preethi: Ofcourse, but not by letting anyone (and everyone) to get in to others private space. It is against law to itercept mobile phone voicemail. From a defending point of view "It is illegal to gain access to another person's phone under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.  There are also offenses under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The UK's security services can apply for warrants to hack phones@ [ref: Evening standards: 07/07/11].
Partha: So you are unmoved by the allegation and only worried about the hacking? I feel the Govt. is just trying to shift focus by blaming the hackers. What about the integrity of the Govt.? Who will have a check on the personnel?
Preethi: I agree that allegation is valid and should be strictly condemned. At the same time, the Govt. should also ensure that no such hacking would be done in future. Prosecute the hackers accordingly. If you think about it, even at an official level there are matters that of concern to higher caders. A secrecy or a controlled information is inevitable in all aspects of the society, be it personal or official. What about you and me? can't we have a personal conversation over phone? what is personal in this world then? With all the long distance relationships, numerous travels, telephone and emails have become an inherent part of everyone's personal life. Any hacking (be it sensitive or otherwise) should be strictly banned.
Partha: Then how can we ensure that there is no such officers at fault?
Preethi: That is a real good question and the answer (I cant think about many options now) could be that you should make the system transparent. By transparent I dont say that everyone should know everything, but everyone should be made aware of what information one would hold. There by, if there is a leak in the information it can be tracked down to individuals (or a narrow group) easily.
Partha: May be, I am not sure if that is the only solution.. but considering your disclaimer I take it. Meanwhile, just thought will mention this, Yahoo today has announced that they are going to snoop in to everyone's email.. (no no.. dont give me the same cliche expression). This is to attract better advertisement opportunities, a trade Gmail had mastered. Can this be with out oppositions? Nope. For many who were holding sensitive information on yahoo and give away google for junk, here is a turn around. Resort back to paper diaries I say!!. Anyways, you can disable this feature of yahoo by visiting

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