Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Radia Tapes, Privacy and why You should be scared.

I was searching around a little for my previous blog post when I got into reading about this whole Radia Tapes controversy. 

A few little known facts: 
Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd. (now Tata Group) was founded by J. R. D. Tata in 1932 as Tata Sons.
In March 1948, after the Independence of India, 49% of the airline was acquired by the Government of India by force, with an option to purchase an additional 2%. 
In 1953 all airlines of India including Air India and Indian National Airways were nationalized to form Indian Airlines Corporation.

What is important is that we are talking about a respected Industrial group - The TATA Group - that was responsible for setting up our National Carrier. Mr Ratan Tata is said to have refused to pay bribes to set up a new airline.

I - having had a little time today - spent some time listing out all my conversations - over the last month - that I would never want made public. Think about it: in the confines of our homes and in the presence of our close friends and family we say things that are PRIVATE. We might just not like something, we might ask friends to help with something or we might ask someone to spy on Indian Representatives to the United Nations.

If there is one thing that the diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks and other 'Leaks' have taught us, its that private conversations can be embarrassing! 

Whats happening to Mr Tata and Ms Niira Radia is whats called Trial by Media [Trial by Media is a phrase used to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person's reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt regardless of any verdict in a court of law.] 

These tapes were obtained by tapping Ms Radia's phone because, first she was suspected of Tax Evasion and later it was said that she was suspected of being a spy - So far I have been unable to find any evidence presented against her. 

By getting all excited about these Tapes we are validating the use of Trial By Media as a threat to the liberty of individuals in this country. 

In the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller:
They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.

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