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Mumbai Police can now nail web offenders

11 March 2007

Landmark deal signed with Orkut to share ip addresses and help arrest those posting objectionable content

Mumbai, March 10: Anti-Shivaji forums or anti-Ambedkar postings or “hate India” campaigns on Google’s social networking site, Orkut, have been confounding our authorities for quite sometime now. Other than blocking the objectionable forums, the Mumbai Police could do little—except wait for the next one to pop up on the web, say, a “fan club” of wanted underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim or Chhota Shakeel.

But not any more. The Mumbai Police is finally equipped to track down such offenders and bring them to book. A single e-mail between the DCP in charge of the Enforcement Branch and the California-based company will now nail such persons.

Following a meeting between representatives of the site and the Enforcement Directorate last month, the Mumbai Police and Orkut have entered into an agreement to seal such cooperation in matters of objectionable material on the web.

“Early February, I met three representatives from, including a top official from the US. The other two were from Bangalore. We reached a working agreement whereby Orkut has agreed to provide us details of the ip address from which an objectionable message or blog has been posted on the site and the Internet service provider involved,” said DCP Enforcement, Sanjay Mohite.

That the measure is fool-proof is evident from the fact that an encrypted code has also been agreed upon for such communication to prevent people from posing as the Mumbai Police and laying their hands on such information from Orkut.

“I am also going to hold a meeting with all Internet service providers to stress the need to share information. We are also hoping to rope in U Tube in the future,” said Mohite.

Earlier, if a complaint regarding objectionable content was received, the police would contact the computer emergency response team, a government body based in New Delhi, and ask it to block the concerned web page. They did not have any way to track down the culprits.

“It was almost out of the question to track down the person who posted the material as we would have to go through the CBI to get basic information from Orkut as they are based in the US. The entire process of letter rogatory would come into play. But now we can take action on any content posted on the site from India,” he explained.

Mohite talks of a citizen who had complained to the police in November regarding a photograph of her posted on Orkut, along with derogatory text.

“She provided us the name of a suspected, but we did not have any proof. After the new agreement was reached, we asked Orkut for the details of the concerned ip address. They replied instantly and we nailed the culprit, who turned out to be the suspect,” said Mohite.

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