Nepali blogger uses Everest to unleash cyber mayhem

July 20th, 2011 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, July 20 (IANS) A Nepali blogger, who claims to be based in Massachusetts has unleashed cyber mayhem in the name of Mt Everest, with the victims including Nepal’s prime minister, the Indian ambassador to Nepal, major embassies in Kathmandu and media around the world.

The Himalayan Voice, a blog by B.K. Rana that purports to be from Cambridge, seized on a prevailing debate that Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world, should shake off its British-given name and get a name from Nepal.

It then compiled a mailing list that included the office of Nepal’s Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, the office of the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood, the offices of the British, American, Indian and Chinese embassies in Kathmandu, and a host of newspapers in India, the US, Australia and farther.

Subsequently, dozens of letters sent by people advocating new names for Mt Everest began to be directed to these addresses daily.

To make matters worse, many of the individuals whose names are on the mailing list then began to use it to promote their own web sites or products, adding to the flood of junk mail.

These range from a Nepali weekly called Mongol Vision, that is hawking a book, “Newly Created Untouchable Janjatee (Nomad, gypsy) Society in Nepalese and Sikkimese Politics”, written by Gopal Gurung, associated with an organisation called the Mongol National Organisation, to a man, Tara Dahal, who calls himself an IT consultant and pushes his own profile.

Dahal is a former cyber etiquette offender who acquired the mailing list of the UN in the past and flooded all the people mentioned there with his soliciting mails till complaints to the UN resulted in his being warned off.

While the blog that began the invasion of email addresses, both official and personal, removes recipients’ names from its mailing list if asked, the damage it inflicted however remains permanent with other recipients continuing the flood of unwanted mail.

Nepal has very weak cyber laws and though there were recent cases of people being arrested for sexual harassment by email, it is not likely to have any jurisdiction on any non-resident Nepalis.

Harassed recipients say their woes are increased by the mails sent to the blogger and other spammers by unwilling mail recipients asking to be taken off the mailing list.

Since most of them use the group mail address, their requests go not only to the harasser but to all other victims as well, keeping up the fusillade of unwanted mail.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be reached at sudeshna.s@ians.in)

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