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December 2004 — Monthly Archive

Shooting the Common Carrier

If you mail a bomb through the post, the law doesn’t hold the post responsible. However, if you sell porn on Baazee (now Ebay’s Indian arm), Baazee’s CEO Avnish Bajaj goes to jail.

For those who don’t know about the Delhi MMS scandal, here’s coverage. This ‘unexpected consequence’ was triggered by a college kid using Baazee to sell VCDs of that clip — apparently innocuously labeled “Delhi girls having fun” — on Baazee. For those who want to know why Baazee’s CEO’s arrest was brain-dead, there’s a great thread now running on India-GII.

All over the world, and indeed even in India, network service providers are given “common carrier” exemptions as long as they cooperate with the authorities. The ‘arrest first, look up the law later’ attitude the Indian police have displayed here do them no credit.

Update: several news outlets, including Rediff and the Indian Express, reported Friday Dec 17 that “anyone who transmitted [will] face action.” Considering the video made the rounds in Delhi on MMS far before it got sold on VCDs in Palika Bazaar, I wonder when Airtel and Hutch (Delhi’s leading MMS providers) will be taken to task (hint: never).

1 Comment

20 December 2004 2:54 pm


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