Banibrata Dutta | 24 Feb 06:01 2015

Smart Cities and some disturbing justifications, plans...

Not sure if many have seen this, but there are few disturbing and (seemingly) fundamentally flawed arguments being discussed, in the context of Smart Cities, what they should aim to achieve, and how. There seems to be almost no discussion of the collateral damage that these could bring, bringing in greater divide in the society of haves and have-nots, but resorting to private police-force, to retain order. Not that the ills being discussed, do not exist already, but this may even seem like a move to codify and ratify the ills as constitutionally acceptable norm, but within the confines of the smart cities.

Since smart-cities have everything to do with IT and communications, though a lot more... thought that it might be of interest to this group.

It might be easy to brush aside arguments as "conspiracy theories", but the title of the Smart Cities being cleverly disguised corporate colonies, or colonies of the rich few, to feed-off the poor many... doesn't seem too hard to believe.

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Sarbajit Roy | 20 Feb 22:08 2015

The Great SIM Heist How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle


AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. Among its clients are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and some 450 wireless network providers around the world. The company operates in 85 countries and has more than 40 manufacturing facilities. One of its three global headquarters is in Austin, Texas and it has a large factory in Pennsylvania.

In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.”

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

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Manuj Gupta | 22 Jan 08:07 2015

DND Sharing of phone number

Whenever I get a spam SMS, I generally report it to the service provider for action through one of the apps I have. However, surprisingly, yesterday I got a call from one of the persons whose number I had reported for withdrawing the complaint. The person was apologetic enough but I wasnt/am not really sure what mechanism exists for withdrawing complaints once they have been reported. Does anyone know?

Also, I am still baffled as to how could the service provider share my phone number with this person so freely without even asking me? Does anyone know if this is allowed?


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Nikhil Pahwa | 16 Jan 15:49 2015

How Indian telcos are justifying violation of net neutrality

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ken | 14 Jan 14:33 2015

Internet an instrument for masses, so net neutrality is key: Ravi Shankar Prasad

I cannot comment on whether India's government will ever do more than 
say the right things. Some truths hold true regardless of borders, 
cultures, and governments.

What I will say is that this group represents some incredibly talented 
and well placed people, almost all of whom I am thrilled to interact 
with. (Due credit to our list hosts.)

To each and every one of you, I suggest the following; go out and loudly 
proclaim your support for those who have announced these plans and 
continue to do so until people are close to sick and tired of hearing 
you repeat yourselves. Because, if there is anything I have learned in 
this world, when enough people voice support for a politician, they 
begin to listen.


The article can be found at the link below.
ken | 12 Jan 00:35 2015

Andhra Pradesh government plans 15 Mbps broadband service at Rs 150/month

Is someone finally listening?
sarbajit roy | 3 Jan 10:03 2015

Re: ACT fibrenet, Bangalore blocking etc

Dear Vickram

There are alarming dimensions to this matter which are not in public domain.

I for one support aspects of this petition, though not the petitioner
and his associates, and call for upholding of the ITGR 2011 and
enforcement mechanisms on all foreign ISPs and hosting companies,
especially Wikimedia, to put in place a system for content takedowns
by a  "Grievance Officer" under Indian law for affected persons - or
else to be blocked in India.

IAC had taken the first step by getting Wikimedia's India's "Live
search engine" effectively disabled, and we were awaiting the Supreme
Court indications before taking further steps, which is now clear to
us, against the foreign parents and the legal fictions they employ.

BTW: You may be interested in this.
in context of the 'Nichalp' {Nicholas Alphonso} discussions on Wikimedia India


On 1/3/15, Vickram Crishna <v1clist <at>> wrote:
> ”Everything is on the internet.  What will you hide?”
> The court said, “Indian society is very mature and knows the difference
> between entertainment and other things.”
> Clearly, both the government and the lower courts need some amount of basic
> education. Perhaps the Supreme Court (the CJI is being quoted here, in re
> the PK case) could consider running coaching classes. The money they make
> could be used to ensure that less frivolous cases are filed, and government
> officers who waste our precious time and money to pursue obscurantism are
> restrained with prejudice. Not extreme prejudice, that is their own
> exclusive domain.
> I understand that the petition filed in the lower court alleges that some
> internet content causes rape and other violence. I don't know if the
> petition named these 32 sites also, or whether it had a longer list that was
> then whittled down by an omniscient DeITy, or we have some really smart
> people who are able to list the most dangerous but accessible Web sites in
> the world (but who might yet benefit from an education, nonetheless).
> So what do the members of this list think? Can a case be made against the
> petitioner (his name is public, but I see no reason to afford him even the
> tiniest personal publicity) that his malicious petition has resulted in
> palpable damage to legal entities resident in India, including programmers
> and AV content developers? Apparently, in Indian courts, it is not necessary
> to draw any rational link between cause and effect while claiming damages.
> Vickram

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Vickram Crishna | 3 Jan 04:59 2015

Fw: Re: ACT fibrenet, Bangalore blocking etc

Sorry, should have been addressed to the list.

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

From:"Vickram Crishna" <v1clist-/>
Date:Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm
Subject:Re: [india-gii] ACT fibrenet, Bangalore blocking etc

Quite interesting. The minutes appear to be quite 'select', with technical experts statements describing the complications being quoted as recommendations. It seems to me many of them will have far more reason (not vague allegations that imho would be difficult if not impossible to back up with any reliable study, but that seem to still have the attention of the Supreme Court. Prima facie, it would seem that the CBI court is far more diligent today than the Supreme Court when it comes to assessing preliminary evidence) to challenge the government in court if their statements are used as supporting evidence to champion the setting up of the giant firewall of India.

At this rate, it will be difficult to find any far-thinking person or association of persons to participate in governmental deliberations. But in any case, the selection of members from civil society appears to have been such a huge task that in the end, nobody was invited at all! I suppose representatives of industry will keep showing up as long as the stated stance of the government is pro-industry.

Till, as Pastor Neimoller wrote, ”there was none left to speak for me”.


Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

From:"Nikhil Pahwa" <nix.subs <at>>
Date:Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm
Subject:Re: [india-gii] ACT fibrenet, Bangalore blocking etc

minutes of the CRAC meeting where internet filters to block porn (among other things) were discussed. AFAIK, the sense is that this is a case that will lead to an Internet filter being set up

On Thu, Jan 1, 2015 at 3:47 PM, Kiritkumar Lathia <> wrote:
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO AL and your loved onesL! Those who are in bangaluru should join COMSNETS (see for interesting conference on Internet and the panel discussions.


On 1 January 2015 at 09:01, Sashikumar N <> wrote:

This is the best illustration of ostrich head buried in the sand. The law enforcement, judiciary and political class is dwelling in bygone eras or in stone age. What do they know about github? At least they can get advice from people who know about this.  It's laughable that they talk about modern India and all other crap. If only Internet is a medium that can give hafta to all this idiots, we will have free Internet. Talk about living in India with hope, that one day things will change for good. Sorry for the rambling, just felt like venting it out.

On 1 Jan 2015 12:50, "Punit Rathod" <> wrote:

This is just a case of an overzealous policeman and an equally overzealous magistrate breaking the Internets. Just because we find a terrorist holed up in a rental apartment in Kolkata, does not mean we need to impose curfew in the entire Country. 

india-gii list has discussed this issue of extensively in Q4-2011 and Q1-2012 when amendments were being made to the IT act to make this possible. 

Seems like a lot of undo is required to restore sanity. But, this may be too much to ask given that our security forces carry the attitude that banning VoIP entirely is a solution to stopping treat calls to SRK!

On Thu, Jan 1, 2015 at 12:32 PM, Akshay Mishra <> wrote:
<warning - nerd joke>
with github ban, is the Indian government planning to ban the "make" in India ... ? :-)

On 26 December 2014 at 10:05, rishi tarar <rishi.usp-Re5JQEeQqe8@public.gmane.orgm> wrote:
It's directed by Supreme Court of india on the petition filed by kamlesh vaswani to block all the pornographic sites but ASG said no to blocking of all the websites but assures that govt will review this matter by the team of Cyber Regulation Advisory Committee & will try to resolve this matter. This petition filed in reference to blocking of all porno sites by govt of Chine and Pakistan.

list of the sites was blocked by dot in past.

On Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 9:14 PM, Sashikumar N <> wrote:
Dear All,
Does anyone know any recent DoT circular blocking, etc? Of late i noticed the ACT fibrenet has been blocking these sites. Sometimes, even some news urls are blocked. When inquired, they were saying its blocked because of DoT, I feel its an excuse for censoring with unspecified reasons. When  asked for specific circular details with date etc, but they are unable to give any answer. Can ISPs block the sites on their own? 


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Tarun Dua | 26 Dec 11:03 2014

MVNO consultation paper at TRAI

Time and again we ignore the various consultation
papers put up by various regulators to put forward a
technology/size/timeline neutral view and then we gets blindsided when
regulation favors either early entrants/technology patent owners or
large entrenched players with significant market power who then oppose
disruption which affects their businesses by making regulators dance
to their tunes ( OTT-a de-humanizing name for useful apps- vs Telecom
providers )

Here is my test for this policy review document.

Can a startup become an MVNO and uses a cheaper newer energy efficient
subcriber management system which say uses Aadhar API or
Facebook/Google authentication as fallback and use a completely flat
billing model to compete against the kind of disruption whatsapp/skype
can bring while riding on top of data network belonging to an MNO in
India and abroad based on output recommendations from this
consultation paper ?

Can we suggest other outlandish tests like these and then point out
the shortsightedness of the regulator in disallowing ideas such as
these before they are born ?

-Tarun Dua
Banibrata Dutta | 26 Dec 06:30 2014

Airtel does it...

Goes against net-neutrality... to charge for VoIP calls -- Skype, Viber, Line etc.
Perhaps time for revival of robust p2p VoIP technology (given that Skype, no longer counts)... but hey, the draconian IT laws prohibit strong encryption, so in-theory (I think) one could still do DPI with brute-force decryption (sans keys), else for P2P I am not sure how they can enforce any of this.

Anyhow, I wonder how they can go against the fact that TRAI had rejected the proposal forcing OTT players to share revenues with telecom operators. It does seem to go against it in principle & spirit, if not against the written word!

PS> The airtel clarification isn't 100% clear, but looks like their "regular" data plans would case to exist, once the new plans with chargeable VoIP starts.

Also, Airtel seems to want to charge for both incoming and outgoing VoIP calls, that goes against the commonly established norm where, barring the case of roaming, incoming calls are not charged.

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Srini RamaKrishnan | 25 Dec 18:21 2014

Airtel wants to pierce net neutrality, charges more for VoIP

Airtel to charge up to 16 times* the standard data rate for using
Skype and other VoIP services

Airtel seems to be implying that this move has TRAI sanction.

*per rate mentioned in other newspapers


Airtel wants you to pay extra for using Skype, Viber, more

If you use services like Skype or Viber to make calls over Airtel's
mobile data network, be prepared to pay extra. Yes, we know you
already pay Airtel for for that data. Doesn't matter. Airtel has added
this line to the terms and conditions of its 2G and 3G data plans:
"All Internet/data packs or plans (through which customer can avail
discounted rate) shall only be valid for internet browsing and will
exclude VoIP (Both incoming/ Outgoing). VoIP over data connectivity
would be charged at standard data rates of 4p / 10 KB (3G service) and
10p / 10 KB (2G service)."

VoIP, or Voice over IP, simply means voice data that is tranferred
over the internet. The next time you're shooting the breeze on Viber,
Skype or Google Hangouts on your phone, keep in mind that Airtel will
charge you you even if you're already paying for that data.

Airtel's move flies in the face of net neutrality, which is a hot
topic round the globe. In the United States, for instance, there is a
proposal to provide "fast lanes" for data intensive video-streaming
services like Netflix and Hulu. Simply put, internet services
providers want to charge these companies extra for carrying their bits
to the consumer, even though the consumers are already paying the
service providers for internet access in the first place. Last month,
President Barack Obama came out strongly in support of net neutrality
by saying that "a free and open internet was as critical to Americans'
lives as electricity and telephone service and should be regulated
like those utilities to protect consumers."

The timing of this move isn't surprising. Whatsapp, which has wiped
off a large part of SMS revenues for mobile service providers in
India, has long been rumoured to introduce voice-calling over data.
Indians already pay some of the lowest rates in the world for voice
calls and carriers like Airtel are afraid that once people start using
data to make voice calls, these revenues will be wiped out as well.

Indeed, in August, the Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI)
had quashed a proposal from Indian telecom companies to charge
over-the-top players like Whatsapp and Viber extra "connectivity
charges." TRAI stated that telcos could make up for the lost revenue
with the increase in mobile data usage.

In a statement to Hindustan Times, an Airtel spokesperson said: "We
have made some revisions in the composition of our data packs, and
will offer VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) connectivity through an
independent pack that will be launched shortly. Our customers can
continue enjoying voice calls over data connectivity by opting for
this VoIP pack, or simply use VoIP services on pay-as-you-go basis."

Which basically means this: unless you buy a seperate VoIP pack,
you'll be charged extra for making calls using Skype, Viber and other
services. If you don't think net neutrality is something to lose sleep
over yet, think about this: If it's VoIP today, operators might start
charging you extra to stream YouTube or use a music service like Saavn
tomorrow. It is not immediately clear if other operators will follow
Airtel's move.
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