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Stupid Government Watch: Indian Regulators Publish 1M Email Addresses

4/28/15
 
By Ken Magill
 
One of this week’s greatest Internet ironies has to be copy on the Telecomm Regulatory Authority of India’s home page that says: “Say no to unsolicited commercial communication.”
 
If you can get the site to load and read it, that is.
 
The regulatory body, also known as TRAI, reportedly published the names and email addresses of more than 1 million people who responded to a request for comment on the subject of Net Neutrality in India.
 
That’s more than 1 million pristine email addresses, presumably of a reasonably tech-savvy demographic, ripe for harvesting by spammers.
 
It’s arguably the cleanest email list ever to come out of India.
 
In response to the move, the TRAI website yesterday was undergoing a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDOS, where attackers send so many requests to the website, it can’t process them all and buckles under the load.
 
As a result, the TRAI website was intermittently inoperable for most of the day.
 
I was unable to verify the number of addresses was a million or more. I was, however, able to access tens of thousands of addresses. And, no, I have no plans to start an email newsletter aimed at tech-savvy Indians.
 
A group calling itself AnonOpsIndia took credit for the DDOS against TRAI attack on Twitter and Facebook.
 
The incident led to widespread criticism of TRAI and praise for AnonOpsIndia in the comments sections of the many articles reporting on it.
 
The move was presumed to be an attempt at government transparency.
 
Also, while there was widespread outrage by people claiming that the TRAI set the address holders up for possible spam, I find it hard to get all that worked up. Spam filters work astonishingly well these days
 
Though I will admit that is most likely one golden list of Indian professionals and consumers, I would bet they’ll barely see a blip as a result of the TRAI screwup.
 
As of today, TRAI has not released a statement.
 
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