Pakistan blocks 800 URLs over Facebook cartoon row

Posted by Shashank Krishna Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pakistani authorities have blocked 800 URLs that feature "blasphemous" and "sacrilegious" content in the wake of the ban on Facebook and YouTube, a representative of the country's association of internet service providers said on Saturday.

Acting on an order of the Lahore High Court, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority initially banned popular social networking website Facebook over a page featuring a contest for "blasphemous" cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.

The ban was later extended YouTube and other links. The move also affected access to Wikipedia and Twitter, internet users said.

"So far, two sites and about 800 URLs have been blocked to prevent access to blasphemous and sacrilegious content," Wahaj-us-Siraj, a spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan said.

URL or Uniform Resource Locator is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.

Siraj said that since the author of the page on Facebook featuring the blasphemous cartoons had been removed, the PTA "probably needs to go back to the Lahore High Court, and then the court could lift the ban".

The final decision in such matters would have to be made by the PTA, he said. PTA spokesman Khurram Mehran said the authority would lift the ban only after receiving instructions from the government.

The competition for the caricatures triggered angry protests in Pakistan though internet users in bigger cities expressed disappointment at the blanket ban on popular websites.

Islam strictly prohibits the depiction of any prophet as blasphemous and Muslims all over the world staged angry protests over the publication of satirical cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in European newspapers in 2006.

Pakistan briefly banned YouTube in February 2008 over blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Facebook Privacy Breach-Shares Usernames With Advertisers

Posted by Shashank Krishna Saturday, May 22, 2010

Last night the Wall Street Journal published about a new Facebook “privacy loophole” that resulted in user information being shared with advertisers. The information that was often shared by Facebook was the username of the person who clicked on the ad as detailed by Ben Edelman. While Facebook has become the subject of security attacks in recent weeks and has come under fire for legitimate concerns, your username has always been for sale, and not by Facebook.

A number of companies in the “social media” space are in the business of selling your data to third parties. Interestingly enough, many of these companies already have the profile data of the majority of Facebook users. That information has been systematically collected through applications as well as public resources found through Google. Trust me, the advertiser who could have theoretically collected your username through ads (even though they probably didn’t realize this was possible), would have paid more for your data by purchasing Facebook ads than going direct to third-party data sales companies.
The irony of the recent Facebook privacy debacle is that Facebook is actually attempting to give users more control, while third-parties are simultaneously stripping users of it. Yes, Facebook has overstepped their boundaries with the new “Instant Personalization” program in my own opinion, however most of your data has been accessible as long as you’ve been on the site.
Most likely that information was shared through third-party applications, but even if you chose not to use those applications, new data sales companies will create profiles of you based on the data you placed across multiple social networks. While we could dive into more details about the business of data sales the main point is this: having your Facebook username shared with advertisers is the tip of the iceberg.
The best way to protect your information is to avoid posting online anything you don’t want public. While I support users’ right to privacy, it’s best to assume your data is already available to other parties the moment you put it online. While I think we’re in the midst of a greater debate over the future of user privacy on the web thanks to the latest Facebook changes, the users already had control the moment they put their information into the ether.

Latest Kites Movie Review

Posted by Shashank Krishna

For over a year now, the Roshans have been drumming up a steady beat, a feat unheard of in the film industry, in promoting their home production Kites. Be it the Barbara Mori-Hrithik Roshan kiss that almost put paid to his marriage with Suzanne, or the ailments suffered by director Anurag Basu and Barbara Mori, which bonded them on the sets or any such trivia they could get their hands on. Topmost being the Barbara-Hrithik romance/chemistry/escapades. All I believe, well choreographed by their PR machinery to feed the hungry media always on the overdrive to be the 'first' to get the 'scoop'.

So why am I beginning a review with the Roshan's PR strategy? Well, to begin with, this film does warrant this type of a scrutiny considering the moolah pumped in for PR, marketing, and the fact the that this is Hrithik's major release after two years. JODHAA AKBAR being his last if you discount his guest appearance in LUCK BY CHANCE. Everything for Hrithik hinged on KITES and he put every ounce of his creative energy in the promotion.

So is the PR strategy a success? You bet. Considering the people that thronged to watch the paid previews. Hrithik is a top draw and he does not disappoint once he gets his audience settled in their seats. KITES is a complete entertainer, a first of its kind in Bollywood; a multi-lingual film in Hindi-English and a spattering of Spanish. However, this film may find it hard to penetrate the interiors precisely for this reason.

But for now, let's celebrate KITES.

The story is uncomplicated. J (Hrithik) is a dance teacher with an eye on making a quick buck. Almost nine marriages later, with immigrants wanting a Green Card, he is stalked by Gina (Kangana Ranaut) a psycho who is besotted by him. J is freaked but soon realizes that she is his jackpot. Natasha (Barbara Mori) is one of his 'brides' who is now marrying Tony (Nick Brown), Gina's brother. Their father is an influential businessman who fronts a famous casino in the US of A. They have the entire state machinery in their pockets. Rub them the wrong way at your own risk.

download KITES wallapers

Here is where a deliciously terrifying thunderbolt of love strikes. Both Hrithik and Barbara look good together and put in super performances. Hrithik, first gets to display his dance, then romance and finally, fury. What more can you want? At least it's not a brainless entertainer.

Basu uses camera movements to highlight emotions to telling effect. In one scene, where J and Natasha are getting passionate, the camera lingers on her family portrait and she immediately backs off. Her poverty is powerfully driven home and the marriage she is getting into for money's sake. The editing is sharp, getting back to 'cut' after a flashback scene. It's a seamless flow of action, dance and drama. Speaking about action, the scenes are top-notch, on par with the best in Hollywood.

Apart from Hrithik and Barbara, who makes the cut, Nick Brown puts in a power performance as the 'crazy' casino owner who will not spare anyone who crosses his path. Kangana as the psycho is perfect while Kabir Bedi is judiciously used. The music changes mood to the feel of the scenes from Wild West to simply bollywood.

At the start, Hrithik's voice-over explains the reasoning of KITES. In the end, you see the allegory.

KITES is a business module for anyone wanting to invest in movies and hit the jackpot. Provided they also get their PR machinery in place, almost a year before the release.

Rating - 2/5

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Shashank Krishna
Bangalore, up, India
nothin much to say.........doin in IIIT allahabad loves bloggingn hacking.... :) and loooves blogging
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