Anonymous, #OPIndia against censorship

Pierluigi Paganini June 11, 2012

Again Anonymous, again another hack in the name of freedom and against the censorship, this time the famous Anonymous have attacked the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), bringing down its web site because the company is responsible of internet monitoring and censoring.

The group posted on their website the following message

We are against Internet Censorship. Instead of blocking few URLs the ISP blocked the whole domain of various file sharing websites. The HC Madras, DoT didn’t isssue any list of websites to be blocked still ISP supported internet censorship.

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is a state-owned telecommunications service provider in the metro cities of Mumbai and New Delhi in India that was a monopoly until 1992, when the telecom sector was opened to other service providers.

The attack made the web site not accessible for at least six hours, the Anonymous have motivated the event with the responsibility of the company on censorship action against several file sharing websites.

The call for demonstrations follows a court order issued in the southern city of Chennai demanding 15 Indian Internet providers block access to file-sharing websites such as PirateBay.

What is surprising is the reply of the company that still denies the attack

“We have individual websites for Delhi and Mumbai … and both are operational,”

said MK Purohit, general manager of broadband services at the company’s Mumbai office.

The strange particular is the responsible of the company declared that the site hacked by Anonymous is not operative but no evidences have been proved, MTNL is the owner of the domain until February 2014.

MTNL isn’t the only victim of the group in the protest against Indian censorship, last week Anonymous India claimed to have taken down the website of the Internet Service Providers’ Association of India and also this time the managers of the company denied the attack.

The National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) is a non-profit Company established in 2003 to provide neutral Internet Exchange Point services in the country. It was established with the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) to become the operational meeting point of Internet service providers (ISPs) in India.

Targets of the group in the last months were also government agencies, political parties and private companies guilty of conduct detrimental to freedom of expression.

The attacks conducted by Anonymous are part of the Operation India Announced by the group of hackers against the internet censorship promoted by the government.

In internet is circulating the news that also the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) is victim of an attack by the same group of activist but the country’s premier agency declared that the website of the organization wasn’t attacked. A spokesperson from ministry of communications & IT declared

“The claim that CERT-IN website was attacked and brought down by hackers is without any basis and at complete variance with the facts. The fact is that the website has been running continuously & uninterruptedly  including the whole of today.”

Once again the version provided by Anonymous is totally different, they had claimed that the attack to CERT-IN website took it down successfully. A tweet from @opindia_revenge reported

“This is your response team #india! They can’t even protect themselves. How will they protect others,”

“We will keep attacking and ! #GOI, ready to face ups and downs?” said the hackers.

Following the model of protest Occupy Wall Street, the group and its follower has planned public manifestations in the principal cities of India, starting June 9.,  Anonymous has also asked all citizens to wear Anonymous’ (Fawkes) mask, dress completely in black and step out on the streets to protests.

Internet in India is under potential threat of censorship and e-surveillance. Internet censorship and e-surveillance in general have increased to intolerable limits. The Government initially proposed a central monitoring system (CMS) project of India without any parliamentary oversight, after the development of an Internet kill switch also given by India without public consent, always motivating the operations with the intent to combat internet cybercrime and cyber terrorism.

But an Internet kill switch and censorship action are not solutions to cyber threats.  What is more worrisome is that e-surveillance and Internet censorship systems in India have increased without any lawful interception law in an unconstitutional manner.  To worsen the situation Internet intermediaries in India have been asked to analyze and monitor contents before they are posted on their platforms. India Government wants companies like Google and Facebook to censor users’ contents.

Internet in India is under potential threat of censorship and e-surveillance. We cannot ignore also the contradictory social scenario of India, characterized by good auspices and a promising economic growth but two phenomena could destabilize the situation:

  • Corruption, it has been one of the pervasive problems affecting India.
  • Social disparities, limiting homogeneous growth of the entire class. This is a critical problem facing India’s economy is the sharp and growing regional variations among India’s different states and territories in terms of poverty, availability of infrastructure and socio-economic development

Unfortunately, many researches have shown that the two phenomena are statistically accompanied by phenomena of censorship that the groups of hacktivist are denouncing.

Gentlemen attention, the threat is elsewhere! In this they are fighting only the privacy of the citiziens!

They are watching in the wrong direction!

Pierluigi Paganini


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