These stories are becoming more common as Internet companies operate under the laws of many counties.
In February A Moroccan man was arrested for pretending to be the Moroccan king’s younger brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, on Facebook. Facebook complied with Morrocca information requests about the man, leading to his arrest. The man was granted a royal pardon after his sentencing, and was out of jail by mid March.
Today we’re hearing of another arrest, this time in India. 22-year-old IT professional Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid. His crime was writing in an orkut community named “I hate Sonia Gandhi.” Sonia Gandhi is a prominent politician in India.
Vaid was charged under section 292 of Indian Penal Code and section 67 of the Information Technology Act because he created a profile and then posted content in vulgar language about Sonia Gandhi in the community.
During investigations, the cyber crime cell of Pune police communicated with Google (which owns Orkut) seeking details about the man who formed this forum and circulated the obscene content. It was known that the vulgar message about Sonia Gandhi was circulated through an email address – Rahulvaidindia@gmail.com . The owner of the email id Rahul Vaid was traced, using information supplied by Google, to Chakarpur in Gurgaon city of Haryana.
He was then charged under section 292 of Indian Penal Code and section 67 of the Information Technology Act because he created a profile and then posted content in vulgar language about Sonia Gandhi in the community. If he’s convicted, he can be imprisoned for up to five years and may have to pay a fine up to Rs one lakh.
This is an issue that needs to be addressed everywhere, but the hot spots right now are areas where extreme laws make what would be legitimate actions in the US or Europe into fairly serious crimes in their jurisdictions. Our companies have to decide if they’ll defy the law and take the consequences. On the upside, users will flock to them knowing their data is secure.