The [oral] sex clip was recorded weeks ago and passed on by the bragging schoolboy to three of his friends and eventually made its way to video disc sellers in New Delhi. It did not draw much attention until an engineering student at a prestigious Indian college listed it for sale on [eBay's Indian subsidiary] Baazee.com... it's the talk of urban India, an obsession of newspapers and talk shows. (...)Hehehe. He said "increase penetration." Link (via unwired, thanks John Parres, and Prion)
Of greater concern to many in the business community is [Baazee.com exec Avnish] Bajaj's arrest under the Information Technology Act of 2000. The law makes a criminal offense of "publishing, transmitting, or causing to publish any information in electronic form, which is obscene." But it also says an Internet provider or Web site manager can't be held responsible if he acted diligently to remedy an electronic offense after learning of it. Baazee.com maintains it yanked the sex video listing as soon as customer service managers noticed it, and Bajaj had traveled to New Delhi to cooperate with authorities.
Pawan Duggal, a cyberlaw expert, said Bajaj's arrest has serious implications, especially when Internet usage in the country is rapidly growing and foreign investors are increasingly looking to India for e-commerce opportunities. "Ultimately we have to see bigger picture. We want to increase Internet penetration. All this will only happen if you allow service providers the freedom," he said.
Update: Fleshbot picked up an interesting/creepy angle on the story as reported by Agence France-Presse: the incident is reportedly being followed at the "highest levels" of US government as well. Fleshbot's editor asks, "Yes, the manager of Baazee.com is an Indian-born US citizen, but still. Is this the sort of case the US State Department usually gets involved in? We'd have thought they were busy with other things, like ... oh, war and stuff." Link
And reader John McCarthy says, "According to today’s Salon, Condi’s on the trail of the India phone sex scandal."
[Condoleezza] Rice is understood to have telephoned the U.S. ambassador in India, David Mulford, about the case. The Bush administration's national security advisor and future secretary of state has let it be known that she is furious about Bajaj's humiliating treatment. He is, after all, a U.S. citizen.Link. "Appropriately enough," says John, "I had to watch a premercial for a Verizon videophone to read the full text."
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.