Airtel admits collecting info about your data usage

Bharti Airtel today admitted that it’s collecting information about data usage of mobile subscribers. But it is for enhancing customer experience.

The tracking of the customer information was done by third party vendors and not by the Indian telecom service provider, said Airtel.

The controversy started after Thejesh GN, a blogger and an IT developer, last week posted his findings on his twitter handle @thej that highlighted the injection of JavaScript code into web pages browsed by Bharti Airtel consumers. Some media reports suggest that Airtel’s 3G subscribers’ data usage is monitored. Some reports say it is a usual practice for top telecoms such as Vodafone and others.

Thejesh revealed that the source for the script pointed to an IP address An IP lookup reveals this IP address belongs to Bharti Airtel in Bangalore.

In response to the revelation by Thejesh, Flash Networks, an Israeli company, has sent him a cease and desist order requesting him to remove the description and implication of Anchor.js in his post.

Flash Networks wants Thejesh to remove the code and its description from GitHub as it violated the company’s copyright on it. The notice warned of criminal action under the IPC 1860 and Information and Technology Act, 2000.

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Responding to the controversial Cease and Desist notice served by Flash Networks to Thejesh, Airtel said: “This is a standard solution deployed by telecoms to help their customers keep track of their data usage in terms of mega bytes used. It is therefore meant to improve customer experience and empower them to manage their usage.”

Airtel said one of its network vendor partners has piloted this solution through a third party to help mobile customers understand their data consumption in terms of volume of data used. A Times of India report said Airtel’s partner is Ericsson for the same and was testing the solution with select customers. Ericsson was using Flash Network’s mobile solution.

“As a responsible corporate, we have the highest regard for customer privacy and we follow a policy of zero tolerance with regard to the confidentiality of customer data,” Airtel said on Tuesday.

Airtel said it’s surprised at the Cease & Desist notice served by Flash Networks to Thejesh, and categorically state that it does not have any relation with the notice.

Baburajan K
[email protected]