Aug 22 2012
I thought after the tragic events of 26/11 in Bombay that security would get beefed up around the city. Instead “security theater” started to appear at hotels and malls, which is the illusion of security but is just smoke and mirrors. We would drive into the Phoenix Mills mall complex and the routine would begin, they check your glovebox and your trunk. For a period of 3 months, I had an empty suitcase in my trunk and not once did they question me. During busy periods the outsourced security guards sort of give up and just let people through.
The reason for the theatrics is to give you the illusion that things are safe but when the shit hits the fan that’s when you see the true colors. For example on 26/11, most of the police force abandoned their posts and ran home. I don’t blame them, when you confront someone who has a semi-automatic machine gun and you have a police issued wooden stick, what would you do? If the Indian government was really serious about security it should own the responsibility just like it does for airports and providing protection for government officials.
Over the past few days, I’ve see this “security theater” playing out again but this time involving the internet. The government is trying to curb all the rumors that are being spread about what is happening in Assam and I can understand their reasoning for stopping it. What is more difficult to understand is their method for going about it.
Currently, if they find questionable content they will goto Facebook or Google and ask them to take it down. If those companies don’t take down the content then the Indian government adds that website link to their blacklist of sites to block. All of this takes time and honestly is pretty useless because people can create hundreds of links a minute and their is no way to regulate it via this manual process that the Indian government loves so much.
Twitter seems to be the current flashpoint in part because it has no business operations on the ground in India and doesn’t have to listen to the Indian government. Facebook and Google are in a tough spot since they don’t want to be known for censoring content but then again they don’t want to jeopardize their large workforce in India. Thus the Indian government is looking at various options in dealing with Twitter, if they block the entire service in India they will look stupid in the eyes of the world. But the cat and mouse game of blocking certain accounts is also a waste of time.
If the Indian government was serious about this issue they would look at creating a firewall for screening content and blocking content on the fly. But, it will never get implemented since it will cost real money and I don’t think the Indian government is that serious about this issue, again it’s about “security theater.”