TRAI reveals about million email ids, gets attacked by Anonymous India

Well, this war is now moving in a direction from where it’s becoming tough to determine who’s fighting against whom and who’s the jury. Just a few days ago whole nation stood up against telecom operators and more than a million emails had been sent to TRAI for protecting Net Neutrality in India. Activists had already been protesting TRAI’s stance on Net Neutrality for more than two weeks, but TRAI’s latest move in this development has helped it earn it not only the rage of common men but also the privilege of being HACKED!

It won’t be an exaggeration to call TRAI’s recent move “the price of standing for Net Neutrality.” Hiding under the hood of transparency, telecom regulator has decided to make all the email responses public along with their associated email addresses. Needless to say that this has certainly attracted the attention of spammers and cyber attackers who can easily steal all those email addresses and then bombard people with spammy or phishing emails. And who knows if some spammers might already have been successful in downloading the whole database!

This move attracted widespread criticism on social media sites. However, hell broke lose soon after that. TRAI’s attempt to violate our privacy was thwarted within a matter of few hours by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which made telecom regulator’s website unavailable.

TRAI Hacked by Anonymous

The Indian branch of world famous hacktivist group Anonymous took responsibility for the attack on Twitter.

In responses to one of the tweeters Anonymous India said that it was just protecting those email addresses from spammers by making the site unavailable, but it could soon hack the site if TRAI didn’t change its mind.

TRAI was already facing severe backlash on social media after making email addresses public, but after this attack it also became the butt of many jokes.

Responding to the attack, TRAI has denied any hacking claims and said that the site was down because of some technical glitch.

So telecom regulator has provided the excuse of transparency for making those email addresses public – it has said that since it received a large number of comments on the consultation paper, it decided to divide those emails in 3 categories and make them publicly available to aid the reading. The categories TRAI invented are given below:

  • Comments from Service Providers
  • Comments from Service Providers Associations
  • Comments from other stakeholders (this category included responses from individuals, organizations and consulting firms etc.)

While it makes sense to have transparency while making decisions on such public issues, it’s completely unacceptable that TRAI decided to publish those responses with publicly displaying email addresses. It’s like TRAI saying the following thing in code-words,

“Since you sent us a huge response in support of net neutrality, we decided to teach you a lesson by making your private contact information public so spammers can harass you with all the bullshit they’ve got.”

Although Anonymous India stopped attacking TRAI after sometime on public request and the website was up once again, still TRAI has not yet hidden those email addresses.

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