TRAI in Damage Control After Making One Million Email IDs Public

TRAI has resorted to ‘munging’ of all email addresses to check spammers from automatically copying these IDs.

Updated
Tech News
2 min read


<!--StartFragment-->If you had wrote to TRAI on net neutrality, your email ID would have been an&nbsp;easy target for spammers. (Photo: iStock) <!--EndFragment-->

Redfaced after receiving countless flak for posting a million email addresses of all those who wrote to it in support of net neutrality, TRAI has now made a damage control move.

The telecom operator has altered the email IDs by ‘munging’ all addresses to check spammers from automatically copying these IDs.

In address munging, the email IDs are changed by replacing symbols like @ to (at) and a ‘.’ to (dot).

The address munging is done to make it tedious for spammers or cyber criminals from copying email ID for automatically sending e-mails.

Trai faced huge criticism after it made public over 10 lakh email addresses that were sent to it in support of net neutrality, exposing nearly 1 million Indians to potential spamming, phishing and unsolicited marketing emails. Not only could one download the entire PDF containing all the email addresses, one could also search for specific people among the million responses.

A screenshot of the responses, sorted by the date they were submitted. (Photo: http://www.trai.gov.in/)&nbsp;
A screenshot of the responses, sorted by the date they were submitted. (Photo: http://www.trai.gov.in/) 

Email databases are a trove of information for a lot of people — email marketers, dating websites, potential hackers and of course, porn websites.

Which made it an invasion of privacy, of the worst kind.

A screenshot of the PDF with all the email addresses which wrote to TRAI. Blurring was done by The Quint. (Photo: http://www.trai.gov.in/)&nbsp;
A screenshot of the PDF with all the email addresses which wrote to TRAI. Blurring was done by The Quint. (Photo: http://www.trai.gov.in/) 

While TRAI was bound to display all the responses it gets for transparency reasons, surely it could have attempted this ‘address munging’ before exposing a million Indians to spamming and other cyber offences.

A screenshot of the TRAI website, promising to protect users from unsolicited commercial communication. (Photo: http://www.trai.gov.in/)&nbsp;
A screenshot of the TRAI website, promising to protect users from unsolicited commercial communication. (Photo: http://www.trai.gov.in/) 

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