A while ago Indi had this hilarious post on Mahinda and Mervyn on Facebook. Clearly satirical, the profiles and whoever who set them up were interrogating the behaviour of two prominent political figures in Sri Lanka. And it was very nicely done.
I can’t find the profiles anymore and perhaps just as well. If the Sri Lankan regime was to take a page off the Indian Government, then whoever who set up that profile may be in for a rude shock. As TechCrunch reports, 22-year-old IT professional Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid based in Haryana was arrested by the Indian Police because he had said he hated Sonia Gandhi in Orkut, Google’s social networking site.
This isn’t the first time Google has capitulated to local laws. Last year, the International Federation of Journalists hit hard against Google for its censorship deal with the Thai government.
The wider question is whether anything we say on social networking sites, ostensibly amongst friends and only for friends, is safe from prying eyes and government censorship / control. Earlier this year Facebook exposed private photos to unauthorised users and as The Register reports, in “June 2007, it was disclosed that Facebook was divulging users’ political views, religious background and other sensitive details to the world at large even when that information was supposed to be given only to a user’s designated friends. MySpace has made similar gaffes.”
Is it time we revisited all our profiles and see what’s really on them?
UPDATED – 11:41PM
I had forgotten about the Mahinda Rajapakse blog. Again, good stuff but I wonder how long before someone, somewhere takes offense and decides to block WordPress in Sri Lanka.