Thu 15 Oct 2015 6:24AM

Open letter to Advocate General Mukul Rohatgi

PP Pirate Praveen Public Seen by 232

I have written a bit here

We should use this occasion to educate people about privacy and encryption. Please add your thoughts. Lets try to come up with something in next two or three days.


Pirate Praveen Thu 15 Oct 2015 6:26AM

Mr. A-G, the solution to losing #privacy is not giving up even more privacy, but to find ways to reclaim it by using tools like end to end encryption. When you use Free Software apps like #kontalk, you can be assured, no one is reading your messages.

  • why privacy? TODO
  • how? TODO (steps to get started with kontalk)

Akshay Thu 15 Oct 2015 6:39AM

Hilarious arguments in that article.


[deactivated account] Thu 15 Oct 2015 6:52AM

The gov seems so desperate in pushing the aadhar scam, oops.. Scheme forward..


Pirate Praveen Thu 15 Oct 2015 7:08AM

You say “There is no absolute privacy. It’s a futile notion. Facebook, if it wants, can pick up any message sent by one person to another if it wants to snoop through WhatsApp. Our system [Aadhaar scheme] is far more secure,”

You are deliberately confusing security and privacy here.

  1. WhatsApp uses https to secure messages whereas many agencies collect data for Aadhar and each of these agencies can leak private data.
  2. People voluntarily give data to WhatsApp where as Aadhar is a precondition for many services.
  3. People can choose not to use WhatsApp and communicate securely using end to end encryption provided by apps like "Kontalk" and "Conversations". With Aadhar, more people are denied that choice, even when you claim it is voluntary.
  4. WhatsApp claims they offer end to end encryption, but we have no way of verifying that claim than just take their word for granted, like the claims of Volks Wagen. Free Software, like "Kontalk", which allows anyone to inspect the source code and verify claims, is the only way to ensure privacy.
  5. Your system may be secure, but bulk collection of citizen data without a data privacy law is an invitation for misuse.

Folks, lets add our responses to each of those ridiculous claims.


Akshay Thu 15 Oct 2015 7:30AM

He sounds eerily similar to zuckerberg. ( )#!

Zuckerberg's intention of saying there's no privacy now is to defend his social network's changes in privacy settings that makes more things public. Is AG's intention similar?

Is AG casually implying that Facebook and whatsapp is or should be used by every Indian? Are these recommended by the government or so? Do government officials use it for discussing national issues? Do army people use it?

Are people who do not have a whatsapp/Facebook account not citizens of India? Do they or do they not have privacy? Should they also give up privacy and get aadhaar?

Decentralized data is less harmful than centralized data. YouTube might know which video I am watching, but they do not know where I'm planning to go this afternoon.

Putting data from different sources together allows drawing inferences that are not possible with single or few sources.

Why should the poor widow have to travel 20 miles if she doesn't have aadhaar? Why shouldn't the scheme of going to her house be applied even when she doesn't have an aadhaar? What difference does aadhaar make to pension status? Is a death certificate + marriage certificate not enough to prove widowhood? Can only people with aadhaar card die? If people without aadhaar card dies, are they not dead?

Facebook is a for profit company whose monetization strategy is selling user data. Therefore it is natural that they employ technology that doesn't allow privacy. But that doesn't mean it is technologically impossible to have privacy.

Free software built by the community doesn't have the same need for collection of data and this allows them to implement privacy features.


Pirate Praveen Thu 15 Oct 2015 7:56AM

I'm using this pad for formatting it to a single document


Pirate Vik Thu 15 Oct 2015 10:27AM

Good idea wit this letter - but how can we reach bigger numbers? We need to break mobile phone zombies from their sleep state :)

Propose we start making some video content.

For example - following this guy round with a camera and live streaming it - would make him think about privacy a little differently.

Adding humour to the discussion is beneficial - and video is a good format to reach large numbers quickly. Worth of a separate thread / discussion?


Pirate Praveen Thu 15 Oct 2015 10:40AM

@vik we are meeting up this Saturday, so we could make a video. Lets discuss the script here.


Pirate Vik Thu 15 Oct 2015 10:51AM

Great - so for me this is about demonstrating to people why they might need privacy. Security of either women or children are emotive subjects that cause concern in people - so they talk about it more.
How about we try and cover a scenario like:
Person 1 (The tracker)
Person 2 (the tracked)

Person 1 sees person 2 in the street, likes the look of them, takes their picture. Follows them to a coffee shop, switches on their bluetooth, scans and gets the persons name (because they called their phone by their name).
Looks them up on facebook, gets their twitter handle figures out where they live by tweets and posts that give it away.
We could go further - person sits outside house, sniffs wifi traffic, get's all sorts of information..
Might be easier as an animation than a video with actors. Have asked Sam Sayer to join here as he has experience in this field.


Fayad Fami Thu 15 Oct 2015 11:02AM

I don't think A.G is ill informed about privacy and encryption because he has quoted facebook as an example. It is a deliberate attempt to make people believe facebook is the main medium of communication so that's where encryption comes in place. Because general public already have a thought that communicating through social networks is not supposed to be private because you agree to their terms of being public and also that facebook is 'the' medium of communication in internet. I once had a discussion about this with my friends. I was surpised that this group consisted of IT engineers and who are technically sound.

They are either not aware of what they will loose or they consider email and one to one chat alongside facebook. I think we must stress more on the impact such a rule will have and what it will cover.

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