09.02.11

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Next on the Agenda: Researching Cablegate

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Site News at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Julian Assange homepage
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Summary: A quarter of a million diplomatic cables, many of which secret or classified, are released to supply Techrights with exclusive and important stories to cover

In the years 2008 and 2009 Techrights got a lot of mainstream coverage owing to Comes vs Microsoft exhibits that we had uncovered and explained. We expect to have a lot more to reveal now that Wikileaks has fully uploaded and decrypted its stash of diplomatic cables from all across the world, spanning many decades.

As noted a few minutes ago, 60 GB of compressed diplomatic cables are now out in their complete form. We have begun studying the material and over the course of the coming year we hope to show/demonstrate government kowtowing and misconduct that affect the industry. Yesterday for example we found this:

 

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: To bridge the digital divide between the 
 India's high-tech urban centers and its vast rural hinterland, 
 Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) is working with the GOI and 
 state governments to establish Internet Technology (IT) 
 connectivity in 100,000 villages around the country. Pilot and 
 developed programs from this project are already being initiated 
 in parts of East and North East India. Microsoft is also 
 working with other U.S. corporations such as Intel, Dupont, 
 United Telecom and Hughes Telecom to supply hardware and 
 software. As part of its eGovernance plan, the GOI hopes that a 
 wired rural India will lead to better citizen services and more 
 employment opportunities. Microsoft considers this effort a 
 good business model for bringing about rural connectivity as 
 well as providing critical public services in underdeveloped 
 parts of India. Microsoft India Vice President Tarun Malik and 
 Project Manager Vineet Garg emphasized that this program is 
 intended to be self-sustaining and commercially viable. The 
 company stressed that this is not part of a Corporate Social 
 Responsibility (CSR) program as CSR initiatives can cripple the 
 self-sufficiency of the recipients if not managed properly. 
 This effort to bring IT connectivity in East and Northeast India 
 appears to be well coordinated and looks to offer great 
 potential for improving local government services and for 
 enhancing rural IT connectivity. End Summary. 

This raises all sorts of questions. For example, why are US politicians involved in this and why is Microsoft given all this leeway? Can’t Indians provide their own software? India has its own GNU/Linux distribution. This nicely relates to the Tamil Nadu debacle we wrote about in recent days. We are starting to see damage control now that some documents are leaked and public scrutiny is mounting. See today’s article titled “It Was Management’s Decision To Drop Linux From Tender”:

The Tamil Nadu government has dropped the provision of Linux operating system (OS) due to a management decision, said Atul Anand, managing director, Electronics Corporation Of Tamil Nadu Limited (ELCOT).

In a brief conversation with EFYTimes.com, Anand said, “It was purely a management decision to do that. However, if the users want, they can always download Linux and use it.”

Probably, the issue is not as simple as it is projected by the ELCOT. The decision has invited a lot of criticism for the government body as well. The state government has been criticised by the open source community for saying “No” to Linux for its 9.1 lakh free laptops.

As before, we encourage our readers to learn about Microsoft influence in the Indian government and also read what was based Comes vs Microsoft exhibits:

Cablegate is out and Microsoft is not going to like it. Among those who tried to derail Wikileaks was one who is close to Microsoft.

Some people have expressed their willingness to help Techrights study these issues together and we are gratified to learn that some of these people have already downloaded the whole of Cablegate (which also has many online mirrors with search facilities). Those who are eager to help us out (it’s a monumental task, but a truly rewarding one) can help turn raw material into clear articles with worldwide attention, so please join us in any of our IRC channels. This is where we coordinate most things (real-time, unlike blog comments).

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    September 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Gravatar

    If Canonical was working to get rural people around the world better access to technology – and doing so in coordination with governments, would you react the same way?

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