Tuesday, March 29, 2011

State Sponsored Telephone Tapping and World Cup Cricket

World Cup Cricket is a much loved sport in the Indian subcontinent. Organized underground betting syndicates rake in billions of dollars when major games are played. Fixing a match enhances the profitability of the operation and it is therefore not surprising that there have been several instances of match fixing or allegations of match fixing in recent past.
In India and Pakistan, cricket is an emotive issue, particularly when played against each other.  In Pakistan a loss against India brings up allegation of match fixing, and it was therefore not surprising to read this quote redacted from the Times of India by a Pakistani Minister to their national team, ahead of tomorrow’s India Pakistan semifinal, which said “I gave a warning that there should be no match-fixing. I am keeping a close watch. If any such thing happens, we are going to take action,” He said he was sure the team had “very clean members”, but still, intelligence was being gathered on “who are meeting them and the position of their telephones”.
Was this an ideal threat or misuse of state machinery to tap the player’s phones? Did the minister unintentionally speak the truth? You decide.  This is yet another instance of how the power to tap phones can be blatantly misused by governments against prominent citizens.  In a previous post, I wrote about how Governments can use mobile phones to spy on citizens in a socially networked world.

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