If you have been keeing up with the news lately then you must have heard about the blocking of websites such as ThePirateBay, Pastebin, DailyMotion or Vimeo and not very recently, websites such as SavitaBhabi and Songs.Pk. Currently only the DOT(Department of Telecom), GoI is the sole authority that can decide which websites can be blocked.
While some of the blocking is done to protect the people or the network, a lot more times its done because of the lobbying by big private players whose only intention is profits. So the idea of free internet is lost. And fighting this oppression worldwide is a association of online crusaders and vigilante group called ‘Anonymous’. We had the good fortune of chatting to a few of them concerned with the Indian scene. Here is an excerpt from the chat.
Anonymous group has successfully taken down the website of Supreme Court of India (supremecourtofindia.nic.in) and the official website of the All India Congress Committee (aicc.org.in). And fighting against one of the big private players, they took down the website of Big Cinema and some sister entities.
We: How do you select your targets?
Anon: Well, it’s a collective decision.
We: Between who?
Anon: As you know, Anonymous is a group without leaders.
We: So how many of you guys are there?
Anon: There are many and we don’t keep count. It’s a collective, like a group of bees.
We: Rough estimate?
Anon: We are all over the world.
Anon: No one knows for sure.
Anon: Can you count?
We: Yes I can… learnt to count in school
Anon: haha. I meant we were so huge in numbers.
Anon: Some of the press say it’s from 50K to 200K. No one knows for sure
We: Why Big Cinemas?
Anon: Check this http://www.datafilehost.com/download-f6f1a301.html. It’s an html file of websites blocked by Reliance without any reason or court order. This was retrieved from their servers itself.
We: Why do you think Reliance is doing this?
Anon: We hit Big Cinemas because it seems to be the beneficiary of the website blocks. Relaince own Big Cinemas, BigFlix, etc. Reliance is a corrupt corporate.
Anon: Did you go through the list of websites?
We: Yeah, I am going through it right now. That’s a lot of names.
Anon: There is this particular entry
We: Yes. Which one?
Anon: He’s involved in the 2G scam and so was Reliance. Or he has something to do with it. Reliance being involved via Swan Telecom blocked his sites and many more including Vimeo and Pastebin, Pastehtml.
We: What are you hoping to get out of this?
Anon: We hope for a free internet. No blocking of websites.
We: Can you define what a “free internet” is to you?
Anon: Where the flow of information cannot be controlled in any way.
Anon: Also, we want the annulment of the IT 2008 Act which is recently implemented. It enables 36 hour removal of “offensive content”. This is basically done to stop the people from talking about the wrong deeds of political parties!
We: Are you part of the international Anonymous? Do you get suggestions or directives from them?
Anon: We are a part of them. We do get suggestions but not directives! You see, we have no leaders to give us orders but we have respected fellow anonymous members on this IRC who help us with the cause by providing resources such as IRC.
We: Will you do anything else besides attacks on websites?
Anon: As of now we do not want to do any damage to the websites. We have the user database of Reliance with all their passwords but not leaking it. We just want the censorship to be removed.
We: Who is your next target?
Anon: We are right now targeting Reliance and its sister concern websites till 9th June. One of our followers came up with a protest idea.
We: Are you worried that you’ll get caught?
Anon: We are not in your jurisdiction and DDoS is not a crime.
This seemed like he (we’re assuming it’s a guy) was not based in India. I decided to probe to find out where he was…
We: Where are you based?
Anon: Like I said before, we are anonymous.
Anon: I might be your neighbor. I might be someone from USA, Russia, Japan.
We: Very true. You could be a girl, guy or transvestite…
Anon: At least I am not a transvestite 😛
Booya! We still don’t know who he/she is.
Anon: We monitored the movement of Sir Anna Hazare. He had the masses with him but the government managed to suppress him. If we get the masses, we have an advantage. We have no leader to defame.
We: You have hacked government websites? Why not show the corruption at the state level?
Anon: We are not fighting for corruption as of now.
“As of now”? Do they have something else up their sleeve?
Anon: We are only fighting the internet censorship. We can easily hit irrtc or whatever the railway website is (it’s IRCTC).
We: Well, you mentioned Anna Hazare…
Anon: A reference revolution.
We: Have you been contacted by the government or Reliance directly?
Anon: No! They will not visit here because no logs are maintained. Government want documentation they can tamper with later and give as proof. So, do big corporates!
Anon: We will never attack the media or their sites, as mentioned by some newpapers/articles, etc. Media is a tool of public information, be it twitter/ facebook/ times paper or any news channel.
We: Good to know (Thank God !)
As we were chatting, Anon revealed that they had a new target.
Anon: Right now we are targeting aitmc.org for jailing a cartoonist, as suggest by people from your country. This is censorship.
Again, with the “people from your country”… another clue that Anon is not an Indian resident. Or is he playing me?
We: Which other countries are you working on at the moment besides India?
Anon: Many. USA, UK, Italy and many. We have 1 twitter handle for our central operations reporting. I’ll give it to you.
We: When will your mission end?
Anon: When all users report unblocking of websites like The Pirate Bay and the IT (2008) Act.
We: What more would you want to happen for you to stop?
Anon: That is it.
Right to a free Internet is necessary as much as the right to water or free speech. Just for the sake of corporate greed and ulterior motives of a few ones, the controlled flow of information on the web is not certainly acceptable to you, me or any sensible mortal.
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Update: The original opindia_revenge twitter account got suspeded(apparently for Government investigations). So they are back with a new account @opindia_back. Stay informed for the latest developments.
Content reproduced with permissions from NH7.