Bengaluru programmer Thejesh, who exposed Airtel's 'spy code', seeks Israeli firm's apology

  • Vignesh Radhakrishnan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 18, 2015 10:30 IST

The Bengaluru-based programmer, who accused Bharti Airtel Ltd of spying on its 3G internet subscribers , has expressed 'outrage and shock' over an Israel-based company's legal notice and has demanded an unconditional apology. Israel-based Flash Networks' code was allegedly used in the "spying".

Thejesh GN, an info activist, sent a counter-claim to Flash Networks through his lawyer accusing it of trying 'to intimidate and silence' him by sending a legal notice. Thejesh has demanded an unconditional apology from the company, which offers monetisation solutions to telecom operators around the world, for violating his privacy and attempting to insert a malicious code into his website.


On June 3, Thejesh had tweeted that Airtel was injecting lines of code into users' browsing sessions over its 3G network without their knowledge.

He dug further and revealed that Airtel had partnered with Ericsson, which in turn was using the services of Flash Networks, to inject the code into web pages that users were browsing.

He published the code to GitHub, a web-based code repository, and promptly received a cease-and-desist order on June 8 from Flash Networks, which is based out of Herzliya, for exposing proprietary code through Mumbai-based law firm Solicis Lex. The firm contended that his action was a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code and the information technology act.

Airtel issued a statement saying that the code is part of a tool it is working on to help users keep track of their data consumption but has now stopped using it. It also distanced itself from the legal notice saying, "we are surprised at the cease & desist notice served by Flash Networks to Thejesh".

Thejesh's response

Thejesh has published his lawyer Lawrence Liang's response to Flash Network's legal notice on his blog .

In his reply, Liang has explained how Thejesh discovered the malicious code and why it is not a copyright infringement. He also claimed that Thejesh is outraged and shocked by Flash Network's demands as he only exercised his right in accordance with the copyright law in India.

Liang alleged that the legal notice has resulted in 'misleading visitors to my client's website and its functionality thereby substantively affecting the reputation and goodwill that Thejesh has earned through years of expertise and service'.

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