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Was TRAI under pressure to release 1 million e-mail IDs ?

The Congress on Tuesday asked the government to investigate as to why the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) put up on its website the names of over one million people who had written to it on the issue of net neutrality, violating the norms of privacy and protecting the identity of genuine complainants.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, responded saying it was not such a big issue and the government was committed to net neutrality, despite the uproar and hacking attempt by Anonymous India.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said: “TRAI putting up the list of names and e-mail addresses of net activists on its website is akin to a bank making the account details of its customers public.”

“This will expose these net activists to hackers,” he said. Gogoi asked the government to probe as to why and who in the TRAI had leaked the names.

TRAI on Tuesday released the names and e-mail IDs of over one million people who gave their comments on the consultation paper on net neutrality.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had last week accused the government of floating a “trial balloon” on net neutrality even as Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said his regime was in favour of free and fair access to the World Wide Web.

Network neutrality, or open inter-working, means that in accessing the World Wide Web, one is in full control over how to go online, where to go and what to do as long as these are lawful.

It advocates that firms that provide internet services should treat all lawful internet content in a neutral manner.

BJP MP from Delhi Meenakshi Lekhi told the media if “we wouldn’t have been committed to net neutrality then why would TRAI seek public opinion”.

“It is a policy decision which needs to be maintained. We wanted to seek public opinion,” she said.

Lekhi added that the present TRAI chairperson was appointed by the previous government so he cannot be accused of toeing the NDA government’s line.

“Parliament will have to come together to debate this issue. Some people were trying to hijack the debate which is incorrect,” she added.(IANS)

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