Net neutrality is the hottest topic of discussion in India for all Internet users. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) submission of a consultation paper on "Regulatory Framework for OTT services" seeking views from the public triggerred a massive online protest across the nation. By the time the deadline to send responses ended on 24 April, support for net neutrality had spread like wildfire. People responded in large numbers and the telecom regulator received over 11 lakh emails demanding internet freedom. But they had to pay a heavy price for voicing their opposition to the regulator's proposal: their personal email addresses were out in public domain, along with their comments.
While it was quite expected that TRAI would release all the comments on its site, publicly revealing users' email IDs wasn't a wise move. It resulted in immediate outrage among internet users, who criticized TRAI for its imprudence. The protest went out of hand when Anonymous India, a group of hackers claimed responsibility for taking down the TRAI website.
Internet users applauded Anonymous India's act. Below are few tweets that show people's anger.
— Vikram Chandra (@vikramchandra) April 27, 2015
Congrats TRAI on releasing the mail ids of everyone who mailed you about net neutrality. Now we know how well you protect internet users . — vir sanghvi (@virsanghvi) April 27, 2015
— AnonOpsIndia (@opindia_revenge) April 28, 2015
Guys please don't stop, those central govt babus must've left the office at 4pm. Don't expect them to fix today :-P https://t.co/sqpaWRnEsQ
— Thali Bhai (@Jyothisthaliath) April 27, 2015
Yet, TRAI hasn't taken any precautionary step to control the damage. Users' email addresses are still publicly viewable on its comments page, which is divided into three categories – Comments from the Service Providers; Comments from the Service Providers' Association and Comments from other Stakeholders. The third category is made up of responses from individuals, start-ups, organizations and others. You can still view the email addresses that are sorted by date.