Broadband

Man wrongly detained for 50 days after misidentification by ISP

Police in India wrongly arrested and detained a Bangalore man for 50 days after his internet service provider (ISP) Airtel fingered him for on-line activities he did not commit.

Police in India wrongly arrested and detained a Bangalore man for 50 days after his ISP, Airtel, fingered him for online activities he did not commit.

The man, Lakshmana Kailash K., a 26-year-old techie, was arrested at his home on August 31 and whisked away for allegedly posting insulting images of a revered historical figure. He was released three weeks after police claimed to have apprehended the real culprits for the posting.

Excerpt from The Register:

Lakshmana's saga started after someone posted unflattering images of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who lived in the 17th Century and is credited by many as the founder of the Maratha empire in Western India. According to this post, authorities got the poster's IP address of from Google and then paid a visit to Airtel to find out who it belonged to. Airtel fingered Lakshmana.

What do you reckon are the chances of something similar happening where you live?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

15 comments
radmoose
radmoose

I know that some geeks get Holloween confused with Christmas as OCT 31 = DEC 25, but when is 3 weeks = 50 days? Ok.. so it probably means that it took 29 days to find the "real culprits" and then another 21 days before they released him =) (For you non-geeks Octal 31 is equal to Decimal 25.)

jdclyde
jdclyde

Due process. First of all, you would have to actually commit a crime before people would start looking for you. After that, looking at your system will fairly quickly determine if it really was you or not.

crystal.mk
crystal.mk

I'm curious about what civilized nation you're referring to but last I checked, innocent people being arrested and convicted of crimes way more severe than posting something controversial on the internet happens all over the U.S. The justice system is flawed in this "civilized" nation. You don't usually hear of these wrongfully convicted people until 10, 20 or 30 years later when that government is paying them a multi-million dollar award from a lawsuit. Although if you know of a nation that is truly that civilized and it's that easy to dismiss the innocent (which I'm assuming in that nation it's just as easy to find the guilty and convict them) I'll be on the first thing smoking to relocate.

fatman65535
fatman65535

Due process can be the biggest "joke" ever pulled on an innocent person. There are many cases where an innocent person spent YEARS in jail, only to be freed. If the 'system' (i.e. cops and prosecutors) THINKS you are guilty, then it is up to YOU to prove them wrong!!!!! Good case in point - those lacross players crucified by that 'sorry excuse' of a prosecutor - Nifong! That man is the "poster child" of the system run amuck. And how much time did he spend in jail??? PLEASE give me a break!!!

JamesRL
JamesRL

If he thinks the US is a civilized nation. He did nothing wrong (and before anyone goes on about secret evidence, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety has seen all the US "secret" evidence and seen nothing incriminating in what he saw). He was returning from vacation, and his flight stopped in NYC. He was held incommunicado for 12 days; no access to consular officials from canada, or a lawyer. He was sent to Syria in chains and handed over to Syrian officials. He was tortured. He was there for over a year. Was that Due process? And there were others in similar situations. I'm not suggesting in any way shape or form that the US is like India, or much worse, like China. But it is not perfect either. James

jdclyde
jdclyde

I didn't realize he was fingered by his ISP, as we were discussing here? Silly me.

JamesRL
JamesRL

You would have to commit a crime..... There are many examples in the US and Canada where that isn't the case. As for the original discussion about ISPs, the ISP can determine which computer was used, but not necessarily which person was using the computer. Are you telling me there aren't trojans out there that could install themselves on a computer and dl kiddie porn? Or that someone else logged on to a computer, a neighbour or friend. Or that someone logged onto the wireless network, or... Perhaps these are far less likely to happen than the main user of the computer being reponsible. But you were stating an absolute, and sorry, thats not an absolute. James

Absolutely
Absolutely

jdclyde: [i]That is the nice thing about living in a civilized nation Due process. First of all, you would have to actually commit a crime before people would start looking for you. After that, looking at your system will fairly quickly determine if it really was you or not.[/i] I think it was you.

DelbertPGH
DelbertPGH

The one I'm most used to, you've got to be careful about what the legal system thinks you may have done. Once they have a crime, and once they point at an initial suspect, they can invest a lot of ingenuity in trying to link the two, rather than put the energy into looking for someone else. In the end, you have your day in court, so that might be the "due process" you refer to. Of course, that Indian guy got released in the end, too. So maybe they've got a civilized system, after all.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Germany is pretty civilized but a few short months back due process was skipped in favour of police adrenaline. The US and the reast of the civilized world has there exmaples also. Knee jerk reactions are not strictly limited to uncivilized countries. Governments are run by people and people are just as faulable all over the world. I do think it's less likely to happen in Canada or the US these days but with Bush's rule by terror.. er.. war on terror, anything is possible.

star_topology
star_topology

Why don't you have a seat right over there...

paulmah
paulmah

What do you reckon are the chances of something similar happening where you live?

IT Security Guy
IT Security Guy

I think it can happen, mostly because of cybercriminals using others' IP addresses or even accounts. Remember all those incidents of lost or stolen data? Those same cyber criminals can use that info to steal or pose as any of those people and commit crimes or other acts and the innocent individual is left trying to prove it wasn't them and the burden will be on the innocent person. Unless you are working in IT security or other relates field, you aren't going to be aware of this happening to you, so the US Government needs to work on protecting the individuals and to increase privacy protections so the individual can fix problems before they happen or very quickly and easily after an incident.

jrcarter
jrcarter

You can talk bad about the President of the USA, you can talk bad about God/gods, you can talk bad about other nation's icons, you can pretty much do whatever you want, but if you make a threat against someone or something in existence you might find yourself being picked up by the FBI. I can't recall exact accounts, but I'm sure everyone can think back to this happening many times in the past. Posting an insulting image, real or Photoshop'd (a monkey's face morphed to look like G-Dub, or Hillary's face blended on the body of a nude pose, or think of all the political cartoons you've seen), that's an American's first amendment right. Post an image that can be construed as a threat against anyone or anything iconic or not, you're on your own (e.g., shuttle sitting on the launch pad and off in the distance a person appears to be ready to press down on the plunger of a detonator... bad idea). What the media gets away with is always under scrutiny. I'm am opposed to controversial TV ads that portray illegal acts as an oxymoron. I care less that Bodog shows a woman disrobing to reveal a pair of footballs on her chest (I'd rather punt those orbs and see real ones... nevermind... then it'd be illegal (grin)), however I do oppose the commercial where the bank manager is wearing a mask and orchestrating an "inside heist" while hollering at the customers "everybody down!" as they are about to be robbed by the financial institution. Or a fast food chain's slogan is "come as you are," and viewers are led to imagine (without actually seeing) a nude customer rolling up in a drive through burger joint to pick-up an order. If it's illegal in real life, then it shouldn't be acted out in a commercial as if it is not illegal. Sure, funny, but there's controversial and then there's illustrating bad ideas. Anyway... now what was the original question (grin)?

jrcarter
jrcarter

You can talk bad about the President of the USA, you can talk bad about God/gods, you can talk bad about other nation's icons, you can pretty much do whatever you want, but if you make a threat against someone or something in existence you might find yourself being picked up by the FBI. I can't recall exact accounts, but I'm sure everyone can think back to this happening many times in the past. Posting an insulting image, real or Photoshop'd (a monkey's face morphed to look like G-Dub, or Hillary's face blended on the body of a nude pose, or think of all the political cartoons you've seen), that's an American's first amendment right. Post an image that can be construed as a threat against anyone or anything iconic or not, you're on your own (e.g., shuttle sitting on the launch pad and off in the distance a person appears to be ready to press down on the plunger of a detonator... bad idea). What the media gets away with is always under scrutiny. I'm am opposed to controversial TV ads that portray illegal acts as an oxymoron. I care less that Bodog shows a woman disrobing to reveal a pair of footballs on her chest (I'd rather see... nevermind), however I do oppose the commercial where the bank manager is wearing a mask and orchestrating an "inside heist" while hollering at the customers "everybody down!" as they are about to be robbed by the financial institution. Or a fast food chain's slogan is "come as you are," and viewers are led to imagine (without actually seeing) a nude customer rolling up in a drive through burger joint to pick-up an order. If it's illegal in real life, then it shouldn't be acted out in a commercial as if it is not illegal. Sure, funny, but there's controversial and then there's illustrating bad ideas. Anyway... now what was the original question (grin)?