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Injecting code in browsers only to improve customer experience: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the minister for communications and information technology, has said that Airtel had been injecting Javascript into users' browser sessions via Flash Networks "solely with the object of improving customer experience and empowering customers to manage their data usage through suitable timely prompts in terms of volume of data used." The minister made the statement in a written reply to a query on Internet privacy raised in the Rajya Sabha by MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Prasad added that "such solutions are already deployed and continue to be deployed by operators globally to enhance information, customer service and experience." It seems that the minister has taken the telco's word on why it was injecting code in browser sessions and has put the onus of consent to privacy on the users. The minister added that telecom operators, as part of their licensing conditions, have to safeguard user privacy and can divulge information about a specific party with written consent and the information that is divulged will be in accordance with the terms of that consent. To that effect, Airtel's claim that the code was used to monitor user bandwidth consumption could be about deeper tracking of Internet usage. What about code inserted to push ads? However, it needs to be pointed out that it is not only Airtel which has been injecting Javascript in user sessions. Earlier in June, MediaNama had reported that state-run telco MTNL had been inserting code in browsers to push advertisements on Internet connections.  Ads inserted by MTNL have typically been for their own services…

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