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India's Cops Meet Technology 393

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-imagine-this-is-all-keystone-style dept.
TopherTG writes "Do cops told to seize computers to return only with monitors, stapling pirated floppies together or arresting CEOs for their customer's crimes sound familiar? It would in India. Wired is running a rather humorous article on the minglings between cops and techies."
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India's Cops Meet Technology

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  • by Blapto (839626) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:32PM (#11279272)
    The guy who installed my dad's IT system. We found 2 floppies stapled to a sheet of instructions on how to back up from them...
  • Familiar? Yep! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:32PM (#11279274)

    Do cops [...] arresting CEOs for their customer's crimes sound familiar?

    Why yes. It sounds like torrent tracker sites, which host no files, being taken down for the crimes of their users.
    • Just an example, here, not a troll...

      Some tracker sites had sections laid out specifically for copyrighted material (ie sections called "Games - Xbox"). This article mentions a child porn posting put up by a user who, by agreeing with the TOS, stated the item was legal. The eBay site did not have a section designed by the admins called "Child Porn".

      Hate to play Devil's advocate here, but these are entirely different things.
  • by teiresias (101481) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:33PM (#11279298)
    Advice to the Indian Authorities:

    The best way to search for Hard Disks and other media is with a large and very powerful magnet.

    Make sure you download an entire copy of the Internet so you can be sure that what you find is indeed illegal.

    Oh, and bounce the computer case around a little bit on the way back to the station. It'll kill any computer bugs still in the system.

    your welcome.
  • by Garg (35772) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:34PM (#11279318) Homepage
    It's cops and robbers, and cowboys and Indians.

    You start mixing those up and no telling what might happen.

    Garg
    • by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr.ticam@utexas@edu> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:14PM (#11279902) Homepage
      It's cops and robbers, and cowboys and Indians.

      You start mixing those up and no telling what might happen.


      Add a construction worker and a sailor and you might end up ruining every school dance in the country.
      • It's cops and robbers, and cowboys and Indians.

        You start mixing those up and no telling what might happen.


        Add a construction worker and a sailor and you might end up ruining every school dance in the country.


        God, I hope not. Traditional Indian dancing is very beautiful. I'd hate to see us start exporting the freakin' village people.

        What next, Gonesh in a Nike ad? :-P

    • Homer's on the sub and then the Captain started the song:

      IN THE NAAAAAAAAVYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

      and there was from what I recall an american indian , a cowboy and Smithers! That's close enough. I dare not to imagine what would happend if we added cops and robbers :X
    • Raghu Raman

      With a name like that, I can't tell if he's italian or japanese.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:35PM (#11279324)
    sticker equaling shoddy quality stereotype back in the early 1960's, just before they started to kill American manufacturers.

    Yeah, let's laugh at the silly Indians and their computer inexperience, while they start grabbing more and more outsourced IT jobs.
    • by happyemoticon (543015) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @06:29PM (#11281680) Homepage

      Japan has been, since the Shogunate, a pretty centralized operation and a land mass about equal to that of California. It has one ethnic group, Okinawans and other tiny minorities aside. Until the arrival of missionaries, the dominant religions (Shintoism and Buddhism) got along ok. By contrast, India is a large nation with many languages, violently opposing religions (Hinduism and Islam).

      Americans see the (academically speaking) creme de la creme of India, and sometimes we forget that most of India, both in land mass and population, is third world. Look at a street in Tokyo, then look at one in Calcutta. If that isn't a big enough contrast, just look down. Better yet, just take a deep breath and smell. Japan was able to do what it did, IMHO, because it was able to educate and modernize itself quickly and pervasively. Whether India can do that, or even if it is willing to do that (They throw away their best engineers, who graduated from a massive, publicly-funded university system! Does this sound like a sane government to you?), remains to be seen.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:36PM (#11279342)
    As it will hinge a lot of what can be done with India. They could easily set themselves back a few years if they keep this up and head down this route
  • Siezed Information (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:37PM (#11279363)
    1. Outsource IT department to India.
    2. Department computers siezed by Indian government containing US customer info.
    3. Indian government now has full access to the detailed financial, demographic and medical information of US citizens.
    • 4. Profit! (Score:4, Funny)

      by i_r_sensitive (697893) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:43PM (#11279459)
      I assume you just forgot...
    • .....yep, US tax return processing is also outsourced to India (if not other countries as well)

      • Actually, this is not true. The story you remember reading was about an accounting firm that outsourced return preparation to India. Return processing by the Treasury is done in the US at the 10 campuses, like so:
        1. Andover: Individual
        2. Atlanta: Individual
        3. Austin: Individual
        4. Brookhaven: Individual
        5. Cincinnati: Business
        6. Fresno: Individual
        7. Kansas City: Individual
        8. Memphis: Individual
        9. Ogden: Business
        10. Philadelphia: Individual and International

        All ten are in the US, last I checked.

    • 1. Outsource IT department to India.

      2. Department computers siezed by Indian government containing US customer info.
      3. Indian government now has full access to the detailed financial, demographic and medical information of US citizens.

      See this article [www.cbc.ca], which says:

      B.C Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis says the USA Patriot Act violates provincial privacy laws, because it can order American companies to hand over information on British Columbians in secret.

      Shortly after his report, the povincia

    • "2. Department computers siezed by Indian government containing US customer info."

      Except that according to TFA, they'd just seize the monitors, anyhow. The data would still be safe.
  • by bwcarty (660606) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:41PM (#11279433)
    The files are in the computer?

  • Humorous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Michael.Forman (169981) * on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:42PM (#11279451) Homepage Journal

    I don't find an ignorant police force beating confessions out of people with a belt that humorous.

    Michael. [michael-forman.com]
    • Re:Humorous? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557)
      Hello, Rodney King called. He wants his memories back.

      I think I could find examples of ignorant, brutal or corrupt police officers in any country you care to name in less than two minutes. What's your point here, apart from India-bashing?
    • I was thinking that I guess you can see humor in it so long as it's far, far away (not the beatings, but most of the story). But if I lived in India, I seriously doubt I'd see anything humorous in this, if I was involved in any way with either high tech or the police. Or passports. Or driving. Come ti think of it, nobody would find it humorous except, perhaps, some anti-technology type longing for the good old days before the UK showed up. But they probably wouldn't hear about it.
  • Suggestion (Score:5, Funny)

    by chowdmouse (155597) <ed.murphy@sstar.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:42PM (#11279454)
    Maybe the cops should outsource?
  • by LiquidMind (150126) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:43PM (#11279456)
    "The passport official who checks your passport does not go abroad. The cop to whom you go to register a credit card misuse does not own a credit card. If a cop is in no position to own a computer, how can he fight cybercrime?"

    that seems like a pretty weak argument. granted a non-computer user (read: cop) may not be able to tell a harddrive from a computer case (still synonymous to some people), that doesn't mean that he can't be given instructions on it. I doubt cops *always* know what they are dealing with but that's what makes their job interesting.

    i don't know how a car works yet i still use it on a daily basis.
    • Once you get up to a high speed, be sure to press all pedals at once - that will make you go even faster. In addition, you need to turn the wheel really fast and hard any time another vehicle approaches in the opposite lane. This will scare away any crash demons that might try to take over your car.

      Hope this helps!
    • Many of their officers have probably never even used a computer. There's a difference between not knowing how computers work (how many people actually understand the operation of the entire system from the operation of logic gates all the way up? bloody few, I guarantee you it's less people than know how an automobile works) and not knowing how to turn one on. You are going to see much worse versions of what happened when cops in the U.S. got involved with cybercrime, what with people getting their machines
    • i don't know how a car works yet i still use it on a daily basis.

      Maybe, but could you identify if a part for your car was legit or from a chopshop? Being able to click an icon and check your email is "using" a computer, but it doesn't really qualify you for a position in computer forensics.
    • by asliarun (636603) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:39PM (#11280259)
      You're right, it's pretty weak. Granted that most Indian cops don't know their arsehole from their armpit when it comes to computers, they don't really need to. What i mean is that this issue can easily be solved by setting up a dedicated cyber-crime unit. All the dummkops need to do is to redirect any computer/internet related crimes to the concerned department.

      Guess what? There's already such a unit in place (at least in Mumbai). Quoth the article:-
      "It was a triumph for the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell after the public embarrassment of having its own website defaced."

      Recent articles in Indian newspapers have also mentioned some very good successes by the Cyber Crime Cell.

      Another thing: The belt-beating sadly is very commonplace and IMHO, is very mild compared to the other police brutality incidents. However, in all fairness, there is a bit of background behind this. Mumbai has always been know as the organized crime capital of India, and with very good reason. In a country where gun related violence is quite rare, Mumbai was going crazy with a spate of shootings.

      In response to this, the mayor, police chief, and the top brass decided to wage war on organized crime. Their MO was simple: Catch the buggers, shoot them dead, and call it an "encounter" death. In fact, the "encounter" squad of the Mumbai police was so successful that they completely broke the back of most of the major crime syndicates. My point of this digression being that this official acceptance of police violence does have a trickle down effect.

      Another aspect to the excessive violence is that in India, the majority of the crime commited is petty in nature and the thieves are often dirt poor compulsives. Very often, the police simply decide to give the common thief a "sound thrashing", lock them up for a couple of days, and then release them. They don't have much experience with white-collared criminals and don't have a clue of how they should behave with them.

      It's easy to ridicule something that seems very quaint or barbaric. A lot of it is justified as well. However, please also realize that social systems in different countries often have a history of their own. Usually, these are borne out of good reasons, and they only seem barbaric today because the reasons have become outdated.

      Having said this, i do shudder to get into the wrong side of the law in India, especially in the really backward states like Bihar or UP. Which reminds me, back when i was in high school, a couple of friends of mine were caught drunk driving by the Delhi police. They were made to squat frog-legged with 2 heavy bricks on their backs! All night. Now, that's a backache for you!
  • by 314m678 (779815) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:43PM (#11279461)
    Isnt it funny how this people in this country dont understand technology that is largely irrelevant to them? Lets all have a good laugh.

    In other news:
    Those goofy Westerns who cant even figure out how to use a non-western toilet in the rest of the world!
    Video at 10:00

  • I bet (Score:4, Funny)

    by Fr05t (69968) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:43PM (#11279465)
    I bet there are a lot of broken coffee cup holders in the Indian police stations.
  • ...so long as you do it right. 5 1/4 " floppies are square, the media inside is circlular.

    The surface area of the floppy is about 27.5 square inches. The circular media is inscribed within the square, and can be no bigger than 21.5 square inches.

    That leaves about 6 square inches that is safe for stapling.

    Hmmm... about 6 inches... where have I heard that before?

  • by xXunderdogXx (315464) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:46PM (#11279515) Homepage Journal
    I hope everyone realizes the issue at hand is rampant poverty not blatant stupidity. The west is infusing money into India's economy but the money isn't really spreading to everyone, just the techno-elite. I'm not saying that it could or should be spread evenly because the population is so enormous, but think about the situation India is in before you judge and mock.

    Personally I think this is just a transient period while the country adjusts. What will happen down the road? Probably even wider economic disparity.
    • Yet India is spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, a space program of dubious value and high-tech voting equipment that fails to work half the time and is closed to public scrutiny. Yet they have people starving in the streets and deep problems like caste-insipired racism, sectarian violence, a prostitution industry that puts most of Asia to shame and one of the highest AIDS rates in the world. Not to mention the recent tsunami victims.

      It's amazing how a society can have such stark contrasts.

      • Yet India is spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, a space program of dubious value and high-tech voting equipment that fails to work half the time and is closed to public scrutiny.

        You misspelled 'the United States'.

      • by cOdEgUru (181536) * <cherian@abraham.gmail@com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @05:13PM (#11280715) Homepage Journal
        What the fuck!.. Oh wait, you were trolling werent you..

        Just in case you werent and are a clueless fuck, then allow me to retort..

        I dont think much of the nuclear weapons program but I agree its necessary evil. I am not for another arms race which India cannot afford, but anything to keep its neighbours in arms length aint bad.

        As for the space program, you understand you are talking about a program which is homegrown and sustained wholly by solid state boosters which were built in India, using its own technology because US pressured Russia in to saying no when we needed it. So we built our own. So there..

        Hitech voting equipment in India is a misnomer. What we have is quite low tech, heck, it doesnt even have a touch screen, but what it has is a low cost solution which more than meets the needs of our election. And you know what, it fucking works. And we have failsafes in place if something goes wrong. What about yours?

        As far as the Tsunami is concerned, India was the first one to say no when aid was offered. India had around 500$ million in the Prime Minister's relief fund and told countries offering aid to instead give it to the nations who could cope with the disaster. Now thats what make me proud of who I am. We can take care of our own.

        So please, I sincerely hope you were trolling on this fine Thursday afternoon. If you werent.. well ignorance is not curable.
    • by abb3w (696381)
      I hope everyone realizes the issue at hand is rampant poverty not blatant stupidity.

      The issue is ignorance. Ignorance is oft curable. Stupidity is for life. The permanance of poverty you may take on faith [bible.cc] or not.

    • Is wider economic disparity bad?

      Surely what is important is a reduction in absolute poverty?
      • So if you had ten people and nine of them had no money and one of them had a billion dollars, you would recommend giving the ninth person another billion to decrease the absolute poverty?

        That sounds like Bush wisdom.
        • That is better than leaving the situation the same. (Assuming no negative effect on the remaining poor)

          Although I was thinking of absolute poverty in a more Rawlsian sense - i.e. the position of the poorest in society.

          On reflection, I disagree with the contention that India is becoming more unequal; it has always had the super-rich (the Tatas and the former maharajas). With the growth of the middle class, wealth is being spread from the 1% to the 10%. Of course it is also important to raise the standard o
    • Mmm. As I see it, the immediate issue is ignorance, not stupidity.

      Remember, the two are different [plexoft.com], no matter how many people use the terms interchangeably; and the former is perfectly understandable and often excusable if you don't compound it with the latter.

    • by northcat (827059) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @05:14PM (#11280733) Journal
      The west is infusing money into India's economy but the money isn't really spreading to everyone, just the techno-elite.

      /me sighs
      I live in India. All Indians don't work for US outsourcing tech companies. In fact, a very small minority of us do. And we did have money before the 'west' started 'infusing money' into our 'economy'. And most people dont give a fuck about outsourcing. Most people aren't even aware of the outsourcing inudstry. And outsourcing hasn't made IT workers rich - it has just put them in the upper middle class. And the poor, lower class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class and the rich existed in almost the same percentages as now, before IBM created the first PC. Outsourcing is a microscopic part of our economic history.

      Or, if you just want to stay in your dream, before the outsourcing industry graced us, we were all snake-charmers riding elephants and we had never seen money or a calculator.
      • I'm truly sorry if I offended you, I admit I'm not an expert on Indian lifestyles. The intent of my post was to make people consider why police and most people were behaving the way described in the article- Is it because they're stupid (or ignorant) or is it because they don't have the opportunity to become techno-literate due to financial reasons?

        Granted some of the things mentioned in the article like politicians not knowing that the internet is a viable business opportunity are laughable, I still belie
  • It seems to me that 'modern' 3.5 inch floppies wouldn't lend themselves to stapling very easily. This makes me wonder -- is it common in India to use the old 5.25 inch or 8 inch floppies? For the youngsers out there, these were truly floppy, as both disk and enclosure were flexible, unlike the rigid plastic casing on the 3.5 inch floppies.
    • This makes me wonder -- is it common in India to use the old 5.25 inch or 8 inch floppies?

      It's likely some bullshit anecdote. The rest of the article is filled with similar hyperbole.
  • Faked story. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:51PM (#11279582)
    This is Jon Katz quality reporting. Stapled floppies containing pirated software? Two years ago? Nonsense. Even in the thirdest world places of the third world, there is no way anyone was using 5.25 or 8 inch floppies two years ago. And certainly not to hold application software.

    This is just a racist jab at "those comical brown fellows".
    • Background: I grew up in the most dag-gummed thirdest world-ed part of the....well, Missouri.

      While I was in the Midwest to attend a wedding this past August, I took an extra week to visit dear old mom and dad. The small midwestern town they live in still uses 8-inch, 5.25-inch, and 3.5-inch floppies, as well as zip disks and CDs for data, at least in city hall and the public library. I don't think it's ever occurred to anyone to media-shift, so they keep most if not all of their older machines around
    • Re:Faked story. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XopherMV (575514) * on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:14PM (#11279900) Journal
      Even in the thirdest world places of the third world, there is no way anyone was using 5.25 or 8 inch floppies two years ago.

      Why would you think that? We're talking about a country where the average citizen earns $450 a year. If the average person is able to afford a computer, then it's not going to be a top of the line system.

      This is just a racist jab at "those comical brown fellows".

      This was a jab not based on racism. Nothing was brought up on their skin color. There was no defamation of their nationality. The article talked about the courts, the police, and the law and nothing else.

      If you want to find anything negative, it was a jab at the power structure of a poor country trying to regulate something they know nothing about because they can't afford the equipment. It was a jab at them being poor.
      • by zalle (637380)
        Because floppies and floppy drives aren't manufactured anymore. Not to mention that you can't fit a single application on a floppy that's in any way modern. I bet that an old WordPerfect or a Ms-Dos 3.0 copy on a floppy would be harder and more expensive for the Indians to obtain than a dvd drive and win2k.
        • Because floppies and floppy drives aren't manufactured anymore.

          Floppies and floppy drives were used for 25+ years. There are plenty of them still floating around out there in perfect working condition.

          Also, what makes you think that a third-world person earning $450 a year would buy a computer brand new?

          Not to mention that you can't fit a single application on a floppy that's in any way modern.

          People work with what they have. Why would they want the newest version of Office when it'd take
    • Stapled floppies containing pirated software? Two years ago? Nonsense. Even in the thirdest world places of the third world, there is no way anyone was using 5.25 or 8 inch floppies two years ago.

      On the one hand, it is possible to staple 3.5" floppies together, although a bit of a challenge. And on the other hand, I only dragged the last of my department's users off 5.25 floppies in summer of 2003... and this at a respectable US state school. (Of course, none of the school maintained labs have had a 5.25

  • Apple (Score:4, Funny)

    by Waqman (847079) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:54PM (#11279614)
    Apple needs to establish themselves in India, last time I checked it's hard to sieze just the monitor from an iMac.
  • Glass houses.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thewalled (626165) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:58PM (#11279668)
    yup, most indian cops are still on the learning but remember the ones who do the dirty work of confiscating stuff get paid ~$100 per month and don't know anything about a computer forget internet and storage (floppy).

    It would also be a wise idea to first check the tech horror stories of the 80s in the us and uk before making fun of indian cops..

    if you are so much against india and the tech support that we provide then stop using these products and start using "prouly made / supported in the us" products.. don't whine.

    - dhawal


  • Wow. Only Jan 6th and we've had 4 wired articles posted to the frontpage this year already. Did they give the slashdot eds subscriptions for xmas or something?

    The only story that hasn't been linked is the fake "Suck My Tiny Yellow Balls" story everyone else is running. See here [0daymeme.com], here [0daymeme.com], and here [0daymeme.com] for a moderatly funny nintendo/microsoft jape.

    But seriously... enough wired articles!
  • by sampson7 (536545) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:20PM (#11279993)
    Quote from the Article:
    When he wanted to register a firm called Pinstorm Online last year, the Registrar of Companies "refused to grant me the name because the government officials out there did not comprehend the word 'online,'" Murthy said. "I had to change the name to Pinstorm Technologies. And, in my detailed application in which I described my company, I had to change the word 'internet' to 'computer network' because the officials did not think (the) internet was a credible medium for business. They told me that."

    What's so strange about this? I hear the same thing from investers all the time!

    I wish that official had been managing my stock portfolio in 2001....
  • It's funny, Laugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FurryFeet (562847) <joudanx@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:24PM (#11280054)
    Yeah, because torture is always so funny.
    Really, did anyone read the whole article?
    Hint: If this had happened in the US or Europe, slashbots would be up in arms. But it happened to "oh, those quaint indians" and suddenly it's funny.
  • Search Warrants (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Detritus (11846) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:40PM (#11280272) Homepage
    Some cops just seize everything remotely relevant to the warrant. They aren't stupid. It's easier to just take everything. It punishes the target of the warrant and disrupts their life/business. Why bother with a trial?
  • by sckeener (137243) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @04:51PM (#11280416)
    From the Article "The cop who checks your car license does not own a car," said Raghu Raman, who heads an information security firm called Mahindra Special Services Group. "The passport official who checks your passport does not go abroad. The cop to whom you go to register a credit card misuse does not own a credit card. If a cop is in no position to own a computer, how can he fight cybercrime? The field cop (and) the beat constable live in another world."

    'No where USA' has the same problems. I can remember back in the 80s when I had a user on my BBS that crashed the BBS on purpose. He was working on his PHD in Physics at RICE and was bored. I didn't know that at the time though. I tried to get Friendswood, TX Police involved. It took an eternity to get them to understand what the crime was and then they were so happy to have the first computer crime. Long story short the cops didn't know anything about computers and we ended up catching the guy by a plain old wire tapped phone call.
  • by Embedded Geek (532893) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @05:12PM (#11280707) Homepage
    There is a great old war story I heard which supposedly took place in France. While I think it was in the RISKs newsletter, I'm not entirely sure where I heard it so you should take it with a grain of salt...

    The story begins in punchcard days at one of the major mainframe companies (UNIVAC or IBM). A new release of software was shipped from the U.S. to France in the form of a large deck of punched cards. Upon arrival, the deck is loaded on the reader and the whole thing crashes. A second deck is shipped to the eagerly awaiting customer (remember, this was before overnight shipping) and the mainframe crashes again, but in an entirely different manner. The customer is frantic so it is decided (possibly after a few more iterations) to send an employee to babysit the delivery.

    All goes well until the deck hits Customs. It turns out that Paris had recently declared punchcard decks to be a bulk commodity (until then, there'd been no category to descibe them). This category includes things like shipments of grain, goose down, or reams of blank paper. Standard procedure calls for taking a small sample from each shipment and filing it away just in case there's a later question about the quality or identity of the goods.

    This means that the customs inspector would examine the card deck, verify it was what the manifest claimed it was, and then take two or three cards at random from the stack and carefully file them with the appropriate paperwork. Basically, they were removing 80 characters at a time from each release in random chunks.

    In the end the procedure was fixed. Presumably, though, the missing cards are still sitting in an archive somewhere in Paris, stapled to yellowing customs forms.

    • I've heard a simillar story. A company my father was working for ordered some quite expensive software from a foreign vendor for a mainframe or some other big machinery.

      The software came on rolls of magnetic tape and the insurance and customs papers for the shipment said something like:

      contents: 5 rolls of magnetic tape, value 10$
      xyz software, value 10000$

      Customs department of our country promptly returned the shipment back to the sender with an explanation: "Contents of the package not accord

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