Sunday, July 22, 2007

Corporate Idiocy

I have always believed that corporations are no less infallible than individuals. In this post let me cite an instance.
One of my friends (a graphic designer) who is looking for work received an email from a company. Let us call it company V. The email was courteous (although somewhat commanding). It said they had seen my friend's resume in a job portal. They wanted him to send in his work samples and resume. Everything is fine till this point.
Then they go nuts - apparently they want to make sure that by supplying the work samples, the candidate cannot claim Intellectual Property later on. In the world of software this is not a problem - but, for Graphic Designers it is - because they supply actual image samples.
So, to protect themselves, the company sends a legal form of incredible complexity for EVERY candidate who is even thinking about applying.
I quote a few excerpts from this monstrous legalese:

You acknowledge and agree that any and all controversies arising out of or in any way relating to the Material submitted by you to “Company” shall be settled by final and binding arbitration, which will take place in Bangalore pursuant to the Indian Arbitration Act, 1996. At the request of either party, the arbitrators, attorneys, parties to the arbitration, witnesses, experts, or other persons present at the arbitration shall agree in writing to maintain the strict confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings. The arbitration shall be conducted by a single, neutral arbitrator, or, at the election of either “Company” or you, three neutral arbitrators, appointed in accordance with the applicable rules referred to above. The Laws of India Any proceeding that you may choose to bring shall be initiated within six (6) months after the date of first use by “Company” of the Material. 8. You shall, at your own expense, indemnify “Company” from and against any claim, suit, or action brought against “Company” by third parties for infringement or misappropriation of a third party's copyright, national or international patent, or trade secret right by any Material provided by You to “Company” and shall pay any damages or settlement assessed against “Company” under such a claim.

Most of us cannot even understand words such as "misappropriation" or "indemnify" - these people are seriously expecting potential candidates to sign this and return it.
Me and my friend had a hearty laugh over this. He chose not to apply - he thought they would get worse if he got selected, requiring him to sign his property over.

A Dacoit named Dadua

Rediff says here that the UP Police (best Police in India, as Vijaykanth would say) has killed a dacoit named Dadua.
Dadua was based somewhere near the Chambal, is my guess. My first reaction was:"Aren't they building apartment complexes there?".
Second was "His name was Dadua??!" Whatever happened to the really scary names such as Gabbar Singh? All that Dadua reminds me of is milk powder.
Upon further research I found that his real name was Shiv Kumar Patel - he was a Patel! Apparently disillusioned with the stock market and the hectic life in Mumbai, he stepped out to UP and became a dacoit. That is still a career option over there.
The first thing he did was rebranding - whoever heard of a dacoit named Shiv Kumar Patel? So he hired KPMG who ofcourse came up with "Dadua".
The UP police have caught him after 35 years of searching; he was close to dying of old age.
He is apparently the worst dacoit after Veerappan - now we can have a North-South fight over who was the better dacoit.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Civil Liberties and the State

I just got an email that a magistrate has ordered this:
Companies in the Chennai IT Corridor are required to issue ID cards to all their employees. Intelligence Bureau will do surprise checks. Anyone not having an ID card in an organization will be questioned.

Let us pause and think about this: IB apparently has the rights to walk into private property and question people not wearing an ID.
Doesn't it seem to the magistrate that this is a gross violation of civil liberties? We are NOT at a state of internal emergency. I am a peace loving citizen more in danger from being killed by one of the crazy drivers of Chennai than by a terrorist attack. Why am I being questioned at my work place??

Why does just the threat of terror attacks make us cower in the basement and abandon our rights to a free life - when we drink poisoned water, pesticidal cool drinks and breath the incredibly polluted air of IT corridor?
None of the companies in IT corridor are going to protest this - yet such violations are frequent by the Indian State. We require ID and address proof for Pre-Paid phones - because apparently terrorists use pre-paid phones. Meanwhile getting an address proof in this country requires multiple rounds of bribery. Or you got to "know" people.

The problem is, the rights of a constitutional liberal democracy have never permeated the minds of Indian voters - particularly the educated class. The standrad argument is that we need protection. My question is, how much of your liberties will you sacrifice for that protection? And what exactly are we protecting here? Isn't it supposed to be our freedom? Or if we are convinced that protection of our lives overrides every other consideration (our constitution and its writers think otherwise) - then let us declare martial law and live under perpetual fear.

If someone paid attention to the spiralling rise of traffic related deaths, it may cause more security, than these measures.