After MTNL, Reliance and Airtel on Anonymous' radar
After MTNL, it’s Reliance and Airtel that hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ now plan to target. Yesterday, the hacktivist group, known for protesting against Internet censorship announced through Twitter that it had taken down the MTNL website. Though the MTNL Internet services were working, its main website had been taken down. Now, a post on the Anonymous Facebook page says that it has set its eyes on ISPs Reliance and Airtel and has also asked its Facebook followers, which of the two ISPs they would like to see be taken down.
Anonymous strikes again!
This is what the Anonymous Facebook post reads -
“Anonymous has no Leaders, its the people who decide...
How many of you in favor of taking down Reliance and Airtel ?...
Like this post to vote for Reliance
Share this post to vote for Airtel”
It is asking its Facebook contacts to like the post, if they want the Reliance services/website to be taken down and/or Share the post for the Airtel services/website. Until now, the post has got some 380 Likes and 84 Shares, and these numbers are swiftly increasing. All these ISPs have been blocking file sharing sites. Anonymous has also planned a peaceful protest in major cities across the nation on June 9, like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Indore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Calicut, Ahmedabad and Kundapur and is tentative in other cities of Uttar Pradesh, Nagpur, Chennai, Jaipur, Mysore and Thiruvananthapuram. In Mumbai, the protest will be at Azad Maidan, Churchgate at 4 p.m.
The OPIndia website also displays an open letter written to the Government of India about the Internet censorship and its protests. The letter asks the government many questions like - HC Madras never issued any list of websites of be blocked, the DoT never issued a list of websites to be censored. Why is that ISPs are forced to block file sharing websites? Why is that instead of blocking few links the whole domain was blocked?
Read the complete letter below -
“Dear Government Of India,
We are Anonymous. It has come to our attention that you have blocked file
sharing websites in India. We also know you are in the process of making a
Great Indian Firewall, to censor the internet in India. Anonymous believes,
however, that pursuing this direction is a sad mistake on your behalf. Not only
does it reveal the fact that you do not seem to understand the present-day
political and technological reality, we also take this as a serious declaration of
war from yourself, the Indian government, to us, Anonymous, the people.
We, the Anonymous are attacking the websites of Government of India,
Internet Service Providers with a DDoS attack for past 15 days to spread our
message. We would also like to bring to your notice that no content or the data
was harmed in this process.
First and foremost, it is important to realize what a DDoS attack exactly is and
what it means in the contemporary political context. As traditional means of
protest (peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins, the blocking of a crossroads or the
picketing of a factory fence) have slowly turned into nothing but an empty,
ritualized gesture of discontent over the course of the last century, people have
been anxiously searching for new ways to pressure politicians and give voice to
public demands in a manner that might actually be able to change things for the
Anonymous has, for now, found this new way of voicing civil protest in the
form of the DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, attack. Just as is the case
with traditional forms of protest, we block access to our opponents’
infrastructure to get our message across. Whether or not this infrastructure is
located in the real world or in cyberspace seems completely irrelevant to us.
Moreover, we would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on
the difference between a DDoS attack and hacking, as these concepts often
seem to be confounded when media and policy-makers talk about Anonymous.
Hacking as such is defined by the law as ‘unauthorised access to a computer or
network’, whereas a DDoS attack is simply a case of thousands of people
making legitimate connections to a publicly accessible web server at the same
time, using up the entire bandwidth or processing power of the given server at
once and thereby causing a huge ‘traffic jam’.
It is clear then, that arresting somebody for taking part in a DDoS attack is
exactly like arresting somebody for attending a peaceful demonstration in their
hometown. Anonymous believes this right to peacefully protest is one of the
fundamental pillars of any democracy and should not be restricted in any way.
Moreover, we have noted that similar attacks have also been carried out against
Wikileaks itself, yet so far, nobody has been arrested in connection with these
attacks, nor are there even any signs of an investigation into this issue at all.
The HC Madras never issued any list of websites of be blocked, the DoT never
issued a list of websites to be censored. Why is that ISPs are forced to block file
sharing websites? Why is that instead of blocking few links the whole domain
was blocked? The blocking of these websites is wrong and unjustified.
Torrents are widely used to distribute open source and free software such as
Linux distributions, and many other books and publications that are in the public
domain. Video hosting sites like Vimeo are used by millions of people every
day. You no longer have access to this content even though it is perfectly legal.
Many small – medium businesses use Vimeo to showcase their services and
individuals including filmmakers and designers use it to promote their work.
These people are strongly hit by the ban on these websites through no fault of
Most of these sites provide a mechanism for illegal and copyrighted content to
be taken down, but the GoI and Indian ISPs decided to bypass this mechanism
and block these sites entirely. Few ISPs are blocking contents for their own
good, to hide the scams, to hide their corrupt doings.
We can therefore only assume that these censorship’s are politically motivated,
and were being carried out under pressure from the Government of India.
Anonymous can not, and will not, stand idle while this injustice is being done.
You can easily arrest individuals, but you cannot arrest an ideology. We are
united by a common objective and we can and WILL cross any borders to
achieve that. So our advice to you, the Government of India, is to take this
statement as a serious warning from the citizens of the world. We will not rest
until all the ISPs unblock the censored websites.
A great man once said “Freedom is my birth right and I shall have it”.
Today, we echo his words. We stand as one. We demand freedom.
We are Anonymous.
We do not forgive the denial of basic human rights.
We do not forget those who assist the oppressed.
To the tyrannical government of India … Expect us.”