An infographic I did about Internet in India.
I think the next killer app will be the political network, when governments (IDs, licenses, businesses) get online, and when democracy gets online as well (voting, right to information, etc). After the personal computer and social network, it seems the logical next step. Modern governments, however, seem more interested in killing that last app than building the next one.
Indian Minister Kapil Sibal has asked Google and Facebook to screen content that might disparage India, using humans.
Mr. Sibal showed attendees a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party’s president, Sonia Gandhi. “This is unacceptable,” he told attendees, the executive said, and he asked them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites.
In the second meeting with the same executives in late November, Mr. Sibal told them that he expected them to use human beings to screen content, not technology, the executive said.
The three executives said Mr. Sibal has told these companies that he expects them to set up a proactive prescreening system, with staffers looking for objectionable content and deleting it before it is posted. (NYTimes blog)
This is retarded on multiple levels, and it’s depressing that this guy is Minister for Telecom. First off, these sites already have takedown policies and respond to court orders. That process could be better, but asking them to hire people to proactively scan stuff based on vague standards has footing in neither law nor logic. There’s a huge volume of content being produced on the net, just like on the street. This is where people live, and they can speak pretty freely, with a fair amount of nonsense, and some stuff they can get sued for.
The thing isn’t to get Internet providers or service companies to do the government’s job for them. Actually, that isn’t correct. It isn’t for Internet services to assuage Minister’s egos. It’s for them to follow the law and respond to court orders, and for government to understand the net before they change it, and try to change it in a positive rather than punitive way.
The Internet is not something to be stuffed into old metaphors. It’s a new metaphor that, used innovatively, can lead to better governance.