Friday, November 5, 2010

Natgrid Project Of India May Fail

National intelligence grid (Natgrid) project is both essential as well as controversial. It is essential as it safeguards the security of India. It is controversial because it does not provide adequate safeguards to prevent its abuse-Praveen Dalal

Natgrid project of India has been in limelight. It is a project launched by the home ministry of India. There is no doubt that home minister P. Chidambaram is blindly impressed by the US and UK security projects. He fails to understand that India has a different set up and Indian constitution must also be complied with to implement these projects.

In the past, the cabinet committee on security (CCS) of India asked P .Chidambaram to introduce further “Safeguards” before the Natgrid project can be launched in India. However, there are no such safeguards that have been kept at place by home ministry till November 2010.

According to Praveen Dalal, NATGRID Project cannot succeed in India till we meet certain challenges posed by it and ignored by the Home Ministry. Till now there is no public information about the Project, there is no website of the Project, status of its implementation is missing, etc, informs Dalal With this approach, NATGRID Project is heading towards the fate of failure as been received by the Aadhar Project and UIDAI, suggests Dalal.

It would be a good option if the cabinet committee on security (CCS) clarifies the stand on this project. Further, the CCS must also ensure that Chidambaram do not have a free run that is clearly violative of the provisions of Indian constitution.

Google Do Not Be Evil

In the past Google used to follow the policy do not be evil. However, things have drastically changed in the recent years, especially during the past year. There are many incidences where Google has done exactly the opposite of this policy. It is sad to observe that the priorities of Google have changed recently.

For one reason or other, Google is manipulating with the news search results and web search results. Previously, some of our news and search results at Google have been systematically removed from the news search and Google search. Similarly, Google also faced an anti trust lawsuit for similar reasons. It is clear that Google is either an accomplice or victim of search engine optimiasation (SEO) activities happening with its clear knowledge and support.

Google also does not respect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users too much. Google was also in news for acquiring data from wireless networks through measures that go well beyond mere wardriving.

The latest to add in this list is the active efforts of Google to improve the brand and image of Indian initiatives like UIDAI, e-governance, ICT policies, etc. For example, even if a news item pertaining to UIDAI, ICT policy, cyber law etc does appear at the top slot of Google’s news search by relevance, it does not find a place in the main web search showing latest news items link for similar topics. Surprisingly, news results of other following similar pattern are finding a mention there but not our news articles.

Google must be fair with its search results and algorithms and should not manipulate news search results and web search results simply to please any government, including Indian government. We understand that Google has to do a trade off between its own commercial interests and its users interests. But the same must not be detrimental to the Google users as is presently happening.

The present action of Google is a clear violation of civil liberties in general and right to speech and expression in particular. It has also marked a shift of Google’s policy from do not be evil to “protect your commercial interests first” policy.