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Did Airtel invade customers’ privacy?

Airtel, which faced severe criticism over Net neutrality, is now facing allegations of invading customers’ privacy.  

Private telecom operator Airtel has once again come under fire, this time from a social media activist. The company, which faced severe criticism over Net neutrality, is now facing allegations of invading customers’ privacy.

In a Twitter post, Bengaluru-based independent technologist Thejesh G.N. has claimed that “Airtel 3G is injecting java script into your browsing session”. He posted a screenshot of the code on GitHub. According to Mr. Thejesh’s post in GitHub, the IP address from which the Java code originated was from Bharti Airtel in Bengaluru.

Clarifying Airtel’s stand, a spokesperson in an email statement, said: “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 G.N., and categorically state that we have no relation, whatsoever, with the notice.”

An Airtel official, who did not wish to be quoted, said, “We have stopped running this code as we found it is not helping our customer.”

Meanwhile, Flash Networks, which was doing the trial for Airtel indirectly through Ericsson, has taken legal action and sent a ‘cease and desist’ notice to Mr. Thejesh.

When contacted, advocate Ameet Mehta, Managing partner of the law firm Solicis Lex which issued C&D notice, said, “We are not against anybody, we want to safeguard the copyright of our client, if there is any infringement.”


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 1:25:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/did-airtel-invade-customers-privacy/article7299301.ece

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