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Google under fire again for handing user info to police

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Google is under fire again today for cooperating with Indian police trying to track down an Orkut user who had been rude about a politician.

Police asked Google for user information for the person behind a post called "I hate Sonia Gandhi" - Gandhi being a Congress party politician. Google provided an IP number and email address which were used to identify Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid.

On Friday Vaid was arrested at home and charged with uploading obscene and derogatory text in breach of section 292 of the Penal Code and section 67 of the Information Technology Act, according to ExpressIndia.

Google, which owns Orkut, sent us the following statement: "Google supports the free expression of our users and is committed to protecting user privacy. Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with local laws and valid legal process, such as court orders and subpoenas. In compliance with valid Indian legal process, we provided Indian law enforcement authorities with the IP address information they requested in this case."

Expressing a personal opinion is protected under Indian law so Vaid may end up being released. According to reports he admitted uploading the text but had no idea it was a crime.

He has been remanded in custody until 21 May. ®

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