First we had the Google vs China debacle, then came Saudi Arabia’s tussle with RIM. And now it’s India’s turn: threatening to block RIM, Google and Skype unless the companies agree to set up localised servers, all the better for state monitoring of communications.
Curiously, compared to the outrage levelled at the Saudi and Chinese governments, American reaction to India’s move has been pretty muted. Could it be that India is somehow perceived as “less evil” than the Muslim/Communist nations? Also: to what extent is India simply doing what every government – including the US government – tries to do: demanding the ability to monitor digital chatter in the hope of foiling criminal and terrorist plots? After all, if Big Brother can’t read your BBMs, haven’t the terrorists already won?
In this week’s episode of Why Is This News, we talk to Harvard Law professor Jon Zittrain, who explains the differences between governments who obey the rule of law, and those who don’t – and why Sarah’s right to criticize the government by email is totally protected, unless she should happen to email it to Paul.