It seems that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to become the laughing stock of the town among netizens. After making the email ids of almost a million people who supported Net Neutrality public, this time a passionate love letter, has appeared on the TRAI website.

trai love letter

While making the comments on net neutrality public, the regulatory body not only made email id’s public but also put a love letter from a user, perhaps unintentionally sent to the authority, on its website.

If social media posts are to be believed, even after the massive backlash on social media, TRAI has still not taken down the email IDs from its website. Though we were not able to confirm this, as at the time of writing this story, the website had been down for several hours.

After this goof up of posting a love letter on the website, netizens have raised serious questions about the working of TRAI, which clearly indicates that it did not abide by its own privacy policy which states:

  • TRAI-Website does not automatically capture any specific personal information from you, (like name, phone number or e-mail address), that allows us to identify you individually.
  • If the TRAI-Website requests you to provide personal information, you will be informed for the particular purposes for which the information is gathered and adequate security measures will be taken to protect your personal information. We do not sell or share any personally identifiable information volunteered on the TRAI-Website to any third party (public/private). Any information provided to this website will be protected from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration, or destruction.
  • We gather certain information about the User, such as Internet protocol (IP) addresses, domain name, browser type, operating system, the date and time of the visit and the pages visited. We make no attempt to link these addresses with the identity of individuals visiting our site unless an attempt to damage the site has been detected.

After TRAI made this outrageous move of making the email ids public, Anonymous India, the hacking group that stands for Internet freedom, had attacked the website yesterday showing its protest and in order to save the email ids from attackers and spammers. The TRAI website was restored after sometime.

Today, as well, in a series of tweets, Anonymous India said that it will be bringing down trai.gov.in website again. It looks like the group has launched a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack on the website to make it inaccessible.

Our Take

TRAI, being the telecom regulatory body of India, should not have made all its email id’s public. Transparency has its own place, but violating the privacy of India’s citizens is an extremely outrageous move. If they had to make the email responses public, why’d they have to publish the email id’s? The email id’s could’ve been simply blanked out or left out from being published! Wonder what were they thinking, making over a million email id’s public!

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.