Airtel code case: Programmer wants apology from Flash Networks

Bengaluru-based programmer Thejesh GN has countered the legal notice from Flash Networks by asking for "an unconditional apology"

Written by Debashis Sarkar | New Delhi | Updated: June 18, 2015 6:14:36 pm
Airtel Spy code, Bharti Airtel, Bharti Airtel spy code, Thejesh GN, Airtel 'spy code', online privacy, FlashNetworks, telecom, technology news Bengaluru-based programmer Thejesh GN has countered the legal notice from Flash Networks by asking for “an unconditional apology” for violating online privacy.

Bengaluru-based programmer named Thejesh GN, who had recently received a cease and desist legal notice from Israel-based Flash Networks for publicly posting a code that Airtel claimed was being injected to track its users, has denied any copyright infringement on his part. Thejesh, through his lawyer Lawrence Liang, countered the legal notice by asking for “an unconditional apology” from Flash Networks for violating online privacy.

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Thejesh also claimed in his reply that Flash Networks “has attempted to use a ‘cease and desist notice’ to intimidate and silence and prevent an open discussion on an issue of immense public interest”. Meanwhile, Airtel, in a statement, had said it has nothing to do with the “code” or legal notice sent to Thejesh.

Thejesh had accused Airtel of ‘spying’ after he discovered a javascript been reportedly injected in his website. Airtel denied this by saying that the so called “spy code” is a standard solution. However, experts claimed that injecting any sort of code without the permission of the user is illegal.

Justifying the publicisation of the code, the reply said: “In order to highlight the malicious manner in which this code had been inserted unlawfully into his website, and to educate and inform the general public about it, he proceeded to publish his findings including all the screenshots on GitHub. This is a common practice for anyone involved with scholarly research on breach of security issues on the internet, and it is generally understood that one solicits advice, further research, corroboration and refutation by publishing the research and asking for comments or amendments.

The lawyer claimed his client is “shocked and outraged by the demands made by your client”. “The unlawful insertion of code by your client into my clients source code amounts to a violation of the rights of my client, including but not limited to a violation of his privacy, an attempt to unlawfully access and hinder the operation of his website and a violation of the right to integrity of the work of my client,” the reply, also posted on his blog, said.

Rather than accepting the legal and moral responsibility for inserting malicious code that compromises the security and privacy of consumers, your client has attempted to use a ‘cease and desist notice’ to intimidate and silence my client and prevent an open discussion on an issue of immense public interest,” said the letter, copies of which have also been sent to Commissioner of Police Bangalore and ADGP, CID, Bangalore.

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