That naughty text message could land you in jail...

Interesting to read a report over the weekend - from India of all places - about some of the legal issues surrounding the forwarding of anonymous (and naughty) text messages and emails.

And let's face it, we've all had the odd risque or extremely rude joke ending up in our mailbox/mobile phone from a pal.

According to Vijay Shankar, an Indian consultant in cyber law, these messages may contain hidden information that could be used by terrorists. Anyone forwarding this information could end up in court, he says, accused of assisting the terrorists in their masterplan.

A little far-fetched, you might think?

Shankar says that an Indian `round robin' multimedia message containing a picture of a pretty woman has been circulating, asking recipients to forward it to 21 other people to be rewarded with a prize did contain terrorist info.

According to Shankar, an attack on the Indian Parliament was linked to hidden messages texted to various people in the form of a beautiful photograph of a leading Indian actress.

"Because of this, you should not forward messages received from unknown persons," says Shankar, who is part of the IT Professionals' Forum (ITPF) group, which held a Web security seminar last Friday.

You're probably asking yourself how come a Web seminar on security is being held in India, given its basic transport and national communications infrastructure.

I would have been too, were it not for the fact I recently wrote an article on mobile phone usage there and how it has soared in the last few years.

Apparently landline penetration is so much lower than here in the UK and Europe that cellular phone take-up has been massive, with almost every Indian toting a mobile phone, even in the sticks.

So now you know...