I woke up to an unpleasant news: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) association in Nepal cut off service for an hour to protest Police action against some members.
To understand the situation I browsed some blogs, couple of mainstream news sites and then I was ready. From what I read, I got a picture that was totally against the ISPs . They were protesting because the Police was closing in on their VOIP call by-pass scheme.
VOIP calls are illegal in Nepal. Arrogance of the ISPs surprised me and I tweeted against their action and called it corporate irresponsibility.
Akaar Post then forwarded me few links and I was floored. What I and hundreds of readers were shown was just half the story. Following up on the links, I realized that the government was targeting the ISPs for VOIP schemes but wasn’t doing enough to catch the real culprits behind the fraud. The gangs actually running the scam are yet to be fully prosecuted. ISPs were on hook just for providing Internet service to these crooks.
Here is the link to Akaar Post:
Now, police has said that some ISPs operators are involved in this fraud and they are pursuing the evidence, the press(which presented a one sided picture) did not mention this fact correctly.
So, here I am ranting against the ISPs but not saying anything against he authorities for ignoring the actual criminals gangs behind the fraud.
When I finally realized my mistake, it was embarrassing. But at least I got the whole picture, what about those who don’t have time or resources to pursue the story? Also, do they have to follow up on a story, doesn’t that imply that certain media outlets are not to be trusted?
Yes, cutting off internet for an hour is irresponsible on the ISPs part but what about the irresponsibility exhibited by the government by ignoring the criminal gangs and their alleged involvement with international criminal networks?
Following one sided coverage of he Finance Ministry’s tax scandal, couple of media outlets have turned out to be completely biased against one side. Now this story breaks and we still see bias in coverage. Is Nepal’s journalism so desperate to please that they are ok being biased?
Also, some reports say that the ISPs were coerced into submitting user data so that the police could find those involved in VOIP scheme. This has serious implications on user privacy and data security.
What if tomorrow ISPs are forced to submit information to implicate those against the government, against certain government policies; or what if Nepal’s neighbors want to track down their opposition using our internet resources? Yes, I am hinting towards the one behind the Great Firewall.
Police against against gangs running VOIP fraud is welcome, their action against service provides aiding these gangs is so welcome. What is wrong is be police abusing their authority to get data from the providers – unmonitored, and the way Nepali media is following this story.