New Delhi,Amrita Madhukalya:The website of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday was attacked by hackers group AnonOpsIndia (@opindia_revenge) after publicly shared the personals details of millions of Indians who had sent in emails to TRAI for their views on net neutrality.
“TRAI down! F* you http://trai.gov.in for releasing email IDs publicly and helping spammers. You will be hacked soon!” tweeted the handle hours after the data was put online on the TRAI website. An hour later, it tweeted: “So those who still think that #TRAi can “handle” the Internet, we just proved you wrong. They just got trolled by bunch of kids.#Incompetence”
TRAI had, in the later part of March this year, invited suggestions on Net Neutrality by industry people, organisations, stakeholders and consumers. The complicated consultation paper, and the manner in which the regulatory board released the it led to a heated debate online.
Net Neutrality supporters joined ranks to come up with a concerted effort to send in suggestions to TRAI to counter efforts by internet service providers (ISPs) to give out preferential treatment to some websites over others for a fee. Eventually, a million net subscribers sent in their suggestions, along with responses by ISPs like Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, and industry bodies like the COAI, ASSOCHAM etc.
Lawyer Apar Gupta, one of the people behind the savetheinternet.in campaign, said that in the absence of privacy laws, there will no legal implications. “This will however, lead to inconveniences of all kinds. More than the revelation, the problem is that they put out the information in a list,” said Gupta. “This will allow spammers to aggregate and market the data. User information should not be kept in such a form to enable harvests.”
BJD MP Tathagat Satpathy, a vocal supporter of Net Neutrality, said that he was shocked. “It is really surprising, not to say despicable, that TRAI released the personal data of so many people who have sent in their suggestions which were in reply to a questionnaire posted by TRAI itself. This is an unnecessary exercise,” said Satpathy.
Sensitive data shared
On Monday, the regulatory board had publicly shared sensitive data like email, phone numbers, addresses etc of respondents who had sent in the data as part of the email. Currently, TRAI is waiting for counter-comments to come in till May 8, after which it will put forward its recommendations to the government. The telecom ministry will, thereafter, come up with its implementation.