A punch in the face of Internet police

Ankit Fadia just made it easier for you to surf those blocked social media sites in office. And, he has advice for the IT guys

india Updated: Jan 29, 2012 16:14 IST
Soumya Mukerji
Soumya Mukerji
Hindustan Times

Ankit Fadia can even crack tough nuts who’re convinced he’s no ‘ethical hacker’ but just a smart hack who knows how to sell himself. “I have never misused my hacking prowess,” he assures with a mischievous smile that leads to confessions of once hacking into a crush’s email in school. “The only other time, I was around 15 years old, and I hacked my then-favourite website — that of Chip magazine. I uploaded my own picture and web address on their landing page, only to send them an apology later.” Dumb, you say. The author, 26, agrees, grinning with the smile of a six-year-old. He has every reason to, for he knows his latest book, How to Unblock Everything on The Internet, will take him to greater heights of hack heroism.

It’s an easy step-by-step cheat guide to bringing down those annoying school, college and office firewalls, and if one way fails, there are 99 others to make sure your IT guys pull their hair out.

Fadia’s latest exercise might leave parents, teachers and HR personnel fuming, perhaps even plotting a PIL against the book. Apparently, the government has been considering taking the book off shelves too, considering its touchy relationship with Facebook and Twitter. “If they ban it, I’ll come out with e-book versions. Blocking the Internet hampers overall progress and limits exposure. It only happens in South East Asia and Germany, where they don’t want you to watch Nazi content. It isn’t prevalent anywhere else in the world. Our government needs to realise that a free Internet is an asset and not a liability,” Fadia says. The Chinese government, too, may not be happy with how he backs one of his unblocking tricks saying, ‘if it can work in China, it can work anywhere.’ “I’m only telling readers what already happens there,” Fadia defends himself.

Sounds all good, but how does one justify that pesky employee who’ll be glued to YouTube for hours ignoring impending deadlines, or kids who’ll access adult content if no checks are put in place? “The right way to do it is to monitor an employee’s activities, and if someone’s doing what they shouldn’t, the HR should tell them to check their behaviour, or risk being fired.”

As for parents, Fadia admits round-the-clock supervision is impossible, so it’s time they did away with the policing. “If you are going to block sites at home, the kid will surely find a way to surf them elsewhere. The important thing is to inculcate strong values and teach them responsible choices.”

Hacker stands by Salman Rushdie
Fadia shakes his head at the controversy at the recently-concluded Jaipur Lit Fest, where Salman Rushdie cancelled his visit due to threats from Muslim fundamentalist groups, taking offence to his book, Satanic Verses. “Everyone has the right to say and write whatever they want to. It is immature,” he says.

Ankit Fadia’s How To Unblock Everything On The Internet is out on Vikas book and is available at R 150 across city bookstores.

First Published: Jan 29, 2012 16:13 IST