Indian coder, lawyer take on Israeli company’s threats
June 16, 2015
On Monday, in a heartening turn of events, Lawrence Liang, a reputed Bengaluru-based legal researcher and cofounder of the Alternative Law Forum, served a counter-notice to Flash Networks’ notice. Liang asserted his and Thejesh’s right to civil and criminal proceedings against Flash for the “unlawful insertion of code by your client into my clients source code”, which “amounts to a violation of the rights of my client, including but not limited to a violation of his privacy, an attempt to unlawfully access and hinder the operation of his website and a violation of the right to integrity of the work of my client.”
Following Thejesh’s upload to GitHub on June 3, Flash put out its notice on June 8. The next day, in an effort to shut down the GitHub repository in which he had uploaded the screenshots, Flash served a notice under the American Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The repository was then automatically taken down by GitHub for until the matter is resolved.
In the aftermath of these events, Flash has repeatedly asserted that Thejesh violated the “confidentiality” of the script that it was injecting, called Anchor.js. Although Airtel issued a statement saying it had teamed up with Flash to track users’ monthly subscription usage, neither Flash nor Airtel have offered a substantive explanation as to how Anchor.js accomplished it. This is because Anchor.js was also found to be inserting ads onto webpages, which – thanks to their unsupervised nature – could just as well be inserting code that compromised security and user privacy.
Apart from asserting their right to legal recourse instead of the blind compliance that Flash’s DMCA notice expects, Liang has demanded that Flash should “offer an unconditional apology for attempting to insert a malicious piece of code into my client’s website which has affected the functionality of the same as well as lowering the reputation of my client” and “for violating the privacy of my client”.