back to article Israeli firm gets legal on Indian techie over ISP ad injection spat

An Indian security blogger was hit with a gagging order by an Israeli firm after he linked its technology to a sneaky ad injection by his ISP. Thejesh GN, an activist and programmer, got into legal hot water after he alleged that Airtel 3G was injecting JavaScript and iFrames into mobile browsing sessions. This JavaScript …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

    So just to clarify, it's Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel that are alleged to be involved in this this Ad injection, and Flash Networks lawyers, but not Bharti Airtel laywers, have issued a cease and desist order, to prevent Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel being named. Additionally the laywers for Flash Networks, but not for Bharti Airtel issued a take down noticed for Github, where a screen shot for the the alleged Ad injection by Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel could be found.

    Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel have yet to comment to The Reg, who have asked Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel for comment about ad-injection that Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel may be involved in?

    Is that correct?

    1. Alister

      Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

      I'm sorry, your post has been edited, due to a Cease and Desist order from Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel. It now reads:

      So just to clarify, it's .___________________. and .___________________. that are alleged to be involved in this this Ad injection, and .___________________. lawyers, but not .___________________. laywers, have issued a cease and desist order, to prevent .___________________. and .___________________. being named. Additionally the laywers for .___________________., but not for .___________________. issued a take down noticed for Github, where a screen shot for the the alleged Ad injection by .___________________. and .___________________. could be found.

      .___________________. and .___________________. have yet to comment to The Reg, who have asked .___________________. and .___________________. for comment about ad-injection that .___________________. and .___________________. may be involved in?

      Is that correct?

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Thank you for your compliance.

      1. DubyaG

        Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

        Compliance will be rewarded.

        Signed,

        Red Skull

    2. Antonymous Coward
      Childcatcher

      Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

      Not sure if it's related but I just read something of obvious public interest about a possibility that Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel are injecting JS and iframe ads into peoples web browsing at http://johndasfundas.blogspot.com/2015/06/are-airtel-and-vodafone-india-3g.html and https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150609/06505631281/guy-reveals-airtel-secretly-inserting-javascript-gets-threatened-with-jail-criminal-copyright-infringement.shtml where it's claimed that "[A] Guy Reveals Airtel Secretly Inserting JavaScript, Gets Threatened With Jail For Criminal Copyright Infringement"

      Do you think they might be the same Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

      1. RegisteredUsers

        Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

        Definitely the same Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks.

        Not only Airtel,it seems Vodafone also injects javascript to their 3G dongle users when accessing http websites but not https

        http://johndasfundas.blogspot.com/2015/06/are-airtel-and-vodafone-india-3g.html

    3. Adam 1

      Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

      I think we can agree with one voice that he is guilty. What kind of fool posts this sort of thing? My man, tell him that it had to be you and that you knew that they would send in the clowns. If not here then somewhere I guess. Sadly for him, the interwebs has memory.

      /I shall now grab my coat as if we never said goodbye.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

        amanfrommars?

      2. XKCD_Fan

        Re: Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel?

        I see what you did there

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

    Is it true?

    Did lawyers representing Flash Networks, (but not Bharti Airtel) really issue a take down notice for Github?

    Clearly I won't want any dealings with either Bharti Airtel or Flash Networks.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Absolutely everything about this is insane and bad.

        And (shakes head) reads in a Calcutta accent.

        1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

          Re: Absolutely everything about this is insane and bad.

          And (shakes head) reads in a Calcutta accent."oh no no no"(/yes)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

      Yes, and GitHub followed the law as Flash's IP had been stolen.

      The issue isn't that this person did a quick "View Source", it's they the published someone else's IP to a public site. That is theft, plain and simple.

      Injection of various assets to provide improved service (or pay for a free one), is common practice and people accept its benefits. Only those with tin-foil hats on or a very poor understanding of the real world get the panties in a bundle over it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks -@AC

        But the injected code was in cleartext. How can the DMCA apply? No decryption involved. The offenders (let's call them that) added their code to someone else's webpage and then alleged infringement when he published it. Next thing is, you'll be arguing that the people who deface library books can't be prosecuted because the defacement is their IP, and it can't be used in evidence without their permission.

        However, the term "Injection of various assets" gives the game away. Only someone from one of the two companies involved could consider what they are doing to be an asset.

        1. P. Lee

          Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks -@AC

          >But the injected code was in cleartext. How can the DMCA apply?

          And if his own website was modified in transit, surely he can counter-sue for an unauthorised derivative work.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

        @AC: Injection of various assets to provide improved service (or pay for a free one), is common practice and people accept its benefits. Only those with tin-foil hats on or a very poor understanding of the real world get the panties in a bundle over it.

        Absolutely - with the exception of when that injected content has a destructive effect on the content requested. In that case Flash Networks, and possibly Bharti Airtel could be accused of gaining illicit access to the product^Hcustomer's computer, in violation of various laws.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

        @A/C

        If you count your downvotes maybe you should reflect on your claim about people's acceptance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

          > If you count your downvotes maybe you should reflect on your claim about people's acceptance.

          I think it says more about people's lack of ability to spot a troll. I thought I'd gone so far OTT that I'd get rumbled.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

            "I think it says more about people's lack of ability to spot a troll. I thought I'd gone so far OTT that I'd get rumbled."

            You obviously have never looked at an American Conservative website.

      4. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

        > The issue isn't that this person did a quick "View Source", it's they the published someone else's IP to

        > a public site. That is theft, plain and simple.

        So, in your world - if rather than View Source, Ctrl-c, Ctrl-v he'd taken and posted a filtered packet capture showing the issue where would he stand?

        If I'm troubleshooting why I'm having problems accessing your site and take a quick pcap to investigate, am I breaching your copyright? What about if I chuck it up to Cloudshark

        > Injection of various assets to provide improved service (or pay for a free one), is common practice and

        > people accept its benefits.

        Not sure that people accept the 'benefits', I think they just put up with it. In cases of ISP injection it rarely leads to an improved (or cheaper) service, just higher profit margins for the ISP in question.

        It's also an incredibly nasty and potentially dangerous thing to do IMO and I'd drop my ISP if I caught them doing it.

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

        "Yes, and GitHub followed the law as Flash's IP had been stolen."

        Incorrect and false DMCA claims are a criminal matter (perjury).

        If the guy chooses to dispute it, github will reinstate the pages on the spot.

      6. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: Bharti Airtel and Flash Networks

        > That is theft, plain and simple

        Not necessarily - plain and simple ;-)

        If Indian copyright law is similar to UK copyright law then it's probably not in any way against the law. There are specific exemption from the "though shalt not copy without permission" for things like critique and comment.

        Without having looked, I assume he blogged along the lines of "my ISP is screwing with my web pages, look what they are stuffing in", in which case including at least part of the code would be "fair commentary" - and if the code is small then "a small part of it" could well be "all of it".

  3. Crisp

    Copyright infringement is the best the lawyers could come up with?

    It's tantamount to admitting that they own the JavaScript code and that they have been doing what Thejesh GN has been alleging.

  4. FredBloggs61

    It's admitting that they own the JavaScript code and that they have been doing what Thejesh GN has been alleging.

    FTFY

  5. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

    Perjury

    It's difficult to tell without seeing precisely what was taken down but it seems in egging things on that little bit further that the takedown does trip on that "swear by penalty of perjury" clause. It appears that he has been redestributing his own webpage after it has been redistributed (back to himself) with unauthorised modifications. However the takedown asserts that the "the entire web page detailed above is infringing on FN's proprietary software". That does not appear to be remotely true and the CEO signing the letter would have known that - none of this "to the best of my knowledge and belief", a.k.a "grep told me" business.

    What are the chances of charges being pressed? Well he's a CEO so they are probably slim to none.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder..

    If you distribute this code via technical resources you are already publishing it, and all that this guy did was do "view source" and copied part of that as illustration. Isn't that permitted under copyright law?

    It's been a while since I looked at all things copyright related, but I find the basis of this takedown rather tenuous.

    On a related note, this takedown is IMHO exactly an indication that this guy was onto something. Time for the Streisand Effect to do its work while I get some popcorn :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder..

      That all turnsvon "Fair Use" and that is very country specific, until some damn treaty or another eliminates it.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I wonder..

        ' That all turnsvon "Fair Use" and that is very country specific '

        No, it doesn't, and the country specifically is the USA, not bumfuckistan.

  7. Antonymous Coward
    WTF?

    "Thejesh GN, an activist and programmer, got into legal hot water..."

    No he didn't.

    Some parasite splaffed tedious verbose and worthless opinion at him. That's all. He could just as well have come here for the same.

  8. richmd

    Barbra Streisand.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      oo EEE oo EEE, oo oo ooh, ooh ooh ooooo ooh

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Happy

        Multi-track that and you've got a number 1

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Multi-rack that and you've got a "cease and desist" letter, "DMCA takedown" statement, FACT sponsored police raid, summary "IP" "theft" conviction, emergency deportation hearing, short stop in the land of the "free", nice long all-inclusive holiday in Cuba with special personal entertainment...

          TFTFY

  9. Mystic Megabyte
    Unhappy

    eh?

    If while I'm out some advertising company, without my permission, paints an advert on the front my house.

    If I then post a photograph of my house on the internet will I be charged with copyright theft infringement?

    I am glad to know that Flash Networks and Bharti Airtel are not in the house painting business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: eh?

      It's more like this: whilst you're out, some advertising company decides, without telling you, to 'add value' to your house by painting an advert all across the front wall because they're sure that:

      - You'd be interested in whatever tat they're trying to flog and will thank them for educating you.

      - The best way to get the message across to you without irritating or upsetting you in any way at all is by spoiling your house.

      After all the company hasn't charged you for defacing your house, therefore it must be good for you. I can't see how anyone could be upset by this.

  10. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Something in the air

    Is this added value:

    technology that allows "operators to boost network speed, optimise video, web traffic and generate over-the-top revenues from the mobile Internet from over-the-top content, that hits your speakers and other hardware in the knackers like good old fashioned standard SONY style malware?

    You do know that if nobody causes optical devices and whatever to wear out prematurely EMI etcetera will lose money. Was the bloke in charge a bully called MacLean that used to make Spitfires for Supermarine?

    It wast his fault we nearly lost the Battle of Britain!

    It was the subcontractors back then too.

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