9 Things The Government Should Learn From The BSNL Hack By Anonymous India

On Saturday, Anonymous India, calling themselves #OpIndia, shut down BSNL’s website after apparently having hacked into the servers 24 hours earlier. They left behind a message, asking BSNL to “patch up before the Chinese get their hands on this.” The reasons they gave for the hacking involved keeping user data safe and also as a way of sending a message across to the government, which needs to better regulate TRAI and Reliance. A message on the home page said the attack was a protest against section 66 A of the IT Act and in support of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who is on an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar since Dec 8 for the same.

1. Companies should encrypt sensitive user data

According to OpsIndia, BSNL had stored passwords in plain text. The group claimed that even though they had access to all BSNL databases, no server was tampered with. A copy of all databases was, however, taken by the group.


2. Respecting the private lives of citizens

The Minister for Communication and Information Technology was accused of “openly challenging privacy of the citizens of India”. They demanded action be taken against him for the same.


3. Government should strictly regulate TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was accused to having released million email IDs, having helped spammers and violated its very own IT laws.


4. Monitor big companies data sharing

In a big accusation (or is it a revelation?), Anonymous India alleged that Mukesh Ambani’s company Reliance was sending unencrypted data to China through its Jio Chat app. They demanded that action be taken against the company.


5. Beware of China

With two references to China, OpIndia is pointing to China as not only a threat that requires us to guard our physical borders, but also one that requires us to be vigilant about any virtual world attempt to ‘attack’ or ‘destabilize’ India.


6. No to a licensing regime

OpIndia has spoken out against the Minister for Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad’s decision of moving towards a licensing regime. A ‘licensing regime’ would put power into the hands of regulators at the cost of the users. They are watching his move on net neutrality.


7. No surveillance of citizens

Saying “When the government stops listening to the people, it is time to wake them up”, OpIndia referred to the celebration of #DigitalIndia and asked the government to stop their surveillance projects (like CMS and interception of phone calls) and make public the details of those whose phones were tapped.


8. No internet censorship

The Anonymous India group also demanded that government (DoT) unblock all websites that were blocked by them and put an end to internet censorship.


9. Respecting history

The last demand of the group was that the government take action against the NIC for trying to change history – in reference to the changes that were made to the Nehru Wikipedia page from a GOI IP address, alleging that he was born to a Muslim in a red light area. They added: “Wikipedia is not your medium to promote lies and propaganda.”



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