Wednesday, June 29, 2005

identity theft

I'm working on the identity theft issue this week, an assignment that has compelled me to devote more attention to the furor arising from the UK-based Sun's sting operation, which allegedly exposed a scam to sell stolen bank password information, than I might have. The Indian press has been diving into this story with its usual rabid enthusiasm, but it seems to me most papers are taking the Sun's lead and developing an apparently faulty premise. How many articles have been scare items about how data is unsafe at BPOs? Most have been even more critical than the international pieces by the Washington Post and others, which have at least pointed out that the 1,000 passwords the Sun bought pale in comparison to the 40 million swiped in one go from a database in the US. Cooler heads have been relegated to the edit page, even though this is only the second "major" incident of identity theft India has encountered. And who called it major?

I ask you: Why follow the lead of the international press on a story colored (at least in part) by protectionism, racism and irrational fear of a brown planet?

1 comment:

shyam said...

Well, perspective is something that has slowly eroded in the Indian media. We just want to follow one sensational angle or the other like a rabid dog. On both the online and print desks that I've known, the focus has shifted tremendously to putting an angle out there that can get people talking about it than calling a spade a spade or standing your ground. When you take a story with an international link to it (other than the dime-a-dozen Indo-Pak stories, which have like a zillion experts spouting their perspectives on it), there is zilch, nada..etc by means of perspective. Add to the combination so-called foreign correspondents like the much-celebrated Chiddu, who sit around 32 local papers with their morning cuppa and do a mash up with the wire copy, you can understand why we are going nowhere. Even the 'experts' who write lengthy middles and Opeds do their research much like fresh deskies who rewrite stories with the aid of wire copies and Google news.