A Bengaluru-based blogger who had pointed out that Airtel was infecting a suspicious piece of code on its users' browser sessions has received a take-down notice from an Israeli technology company that is apparently a vendor for the Indian telco.
Using a public IP tracking tool, he was able to point out that the IP address belonged to Bharti Airtel, and that the code belonged to Flash Networks.
Five days later, he received a takedown notice from Flash Networks, an Israel-based company for publishing the code and screenshots. The firm says on its website that it works with 85 telecom operators and offers an “enhanced browsing experience while generating revenues from search, over-the-top content, and targeted advertising.”
So I got cease and desist letter for exposing JS injection by big a telco for publishing JS code & screenshots. I will probably remove it :(— Thejesh GN (@thej) June 8, 2015
Netizens are not amused by these strong-arm tactics by the Israeli company.
The wronged/affected/aggrieved party here are Airtel users whose browsing is being intercepted and modified, unbeknown to them.— Rohin Dharmakumar (@r0h1n) June 9, 2015
An Airtel spokesperson said the code was part of a third-party application to help customers understand data consumption. The company said it was surprised by the take-down notice.
This is a standard solution deployed by telcos globally to help their customers keep track of their data usage in terms of mega bytes used. It is therefore meant to improve customer experience and empower them to manage their usage. One of our network vendor partners has piloted this solution through a third party to help customers understand their data consumption in terms of volume of data used. As a responsible corporate, we have the highest regard for customer privacy and we follow a policy of zero tolerance with regard to the confidentiality of customer data. We are also surprised at the Cease & Desist notice served by Flash Networks to Thejesh GN, and categorically state that we have no relation, whatsoever, with the notice.
If it was indeed an innocuous application, why did Flash Networks get so aggressive, we wonder.