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Open Wi-Fi May Become Illegal In India 179

Posted by timothy
from the remember-to-punish-the-innocent-first dept.
chromoZ writes with word that because of the serial blasts in Indian cities (and terrorist outfits claiming responsibility via email, often sent via Cyber Cafes and open Wi-Fi spots), sharing unsecured wireless access may get much tougher in India: "The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) after studying open Wifi networks is coming up with a set of guidelines and recommendations to secure them. 'All ISPs may be instructed to ensure that their subscribers using wireless devices must use effective authentication mechanisms and permit access to internet to only authorised persons using wireless devices.' An open Wi-Fi could be as much as illegal in India after this."
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Open Wi-Fi May Become Illegal In India

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  • Proxies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lucky75 (1265142) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:37AM (#25038841)
    What about proxies or tunnels then?
  • mail box (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:39AM (#25038873)

    Wont they use the mail box down the street?.

  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:44AM (#25038945) Journal

    All ISPs may be instructed to ensure that their subscribers using wireless devices must use effective authentication mechanisms and permit access to internet to only authorised persons using wireless devices.

    And just how are the ISPs supposed to be able to accomplish this? Are they going to have people wardriving all around India, sniffing out open wifi, then seeing if it traces back to one of their customers? Or is a strongly worded email sufficient?

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:49AM (#25039007)

    Of all the countries I've traveled, India is far and away the biggest pain in the ass to get hold of a simple prepaid SIM to stick in your cellphone. Even a little hole-in-the-wall shop wants you to fill out a detailed form, provide identification to be photocopied, provide a valid address while staying in India ... all because they don't want terrorists to be able to use throwaway phones for planning and coordination of attacks.

    I'm not at all surprised to see this mindset being extended into other wireless communications

    One thing to keep in mind - while America received their "wake up call" in September 2001, there are other nations like India that have been battling terrorism on home soil for several decades. It's worth paying close attention to what these other nations are doing today, if you want clues to what America might be doing tomorrow.

  • by gnick (1211984) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:55AM (#25039101) Homepage

    Simple solution: authorize everyone with WiFi capability to access your network. The authentication is very strong, as anyone without WiFi capability will absolutely not be allowed to connect.

    There's a problem there. TFS indicates that this is just a "set of guidelines and recommendations", but the title indicates that it's a potential law. If the law states that you must authorize people to use your network, it seems that they could hold you responsible for its misuse. So if somebody transmits terrorist instructions / P2Ps RIAA music / uploads kiddie porn (won't somebody think of the children!?!), they may drag you in. Even though you didn't commit the crime, you authorized somebody to use your equipment and helped facilitate the crime.

    Of course, if I loan somebody my car and they run down their cheating GF, I'm probably safe unless they told me their intention ahead of time. But Internet laws are still so nebulous that the analogy may not carry over.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:56AM (#25039119)
    This is doing nothing to combat terrorism.

    Sounds like the telecoms just want more people to go home and pay for badwith.
  • Re:What a pity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cOdEgUru (181536) <cherian.abraham@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:59AM (#25039155) Homepage Journal

    Last I checked, this is the overall tally

    Number of lives lost in Scandinavia due to Terrorism: 0

    Number of lives lost in India due to Terrorism: Atleast 635 people killed in Terrorism since 2001 (I think in reality its far more..)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_India [wikipedia.org]

    For all the people here, how would you start behaving the day after the first series of bomb blasts if they were to go off in major cities around US? How would your perspectives change, after the fiftieth one, and consider for a minute that the Govt is helpless to prevent it, that every other week there is one more idiot blowing up innocents. What would you do? Its easy to be far removed from all this ugliness and have an opinion.

    I am not saying what they propose to ban Open networks to be valid. What I am saying is, seven years in to the stark reality posed by the threat of Islamic terrorism, I am surprised that India hasnt opted to carpet bomb Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

  • Re:What a pity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:15AM (#25039395) Homepage Journal

    I am surprised that India hasnt opted to carpet bomb Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

    Pakistan has nukes, and Indians aren't stupid.

  • by Spatial (1235392) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:17AM (#25039421)
    It could just as easily be abject stupidity or ignorance on the part of policy makers; the typical practise of taking action with no regard as to its effectiveness.
  • Re:What a pity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:19AM (#25039453) Journal

    You know, I'm sick of this kind of reasoning. I grew up in the UK during the Northern Ireland troubles, and terrorist bombs were a fairly regular news item. I didn't know anyone who had been killed in one, but my mother only missed one because the tube she was on was delayed. And yet, in spite of the fact we had terrorists recruiting and training a narrow strip of water away, we didn't feel the need to give up freedoms or think 'what would terrorists do with this kind of situation' before doing anything. It wasn't until America decided to go on a holy crusade that we started getting this kind of thing.

    India is the second most populous country in the world. It has over a billion people. 635 people is under 0.007% of the annual death rate - since this figure is over 7 years, it's around 0.001% of annual deaths. The figures for (non-terrorism-related) murders are two orders of magnitude higher, and the figures from smoking-related cancers are a few more orders of magnitude higher still.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:22AM (#25039503) Journal
    We were battling terrorism in the UK for decades, coming over from Ireland. Most of it was funded by the US. We pretty much ignored it - you'd get a short snipped on the news about it and then back to work. September 2001 was a wake-up call for our government too - they learned from the USA that they could use terrorism as a way of gaining more control over individual lives, rather than it just being a minor irritation.
  • by IcyHando'Death (239387) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:25AM (#25039553)

    Quite true. Yet if India is anything like America, a thin layer of anti-terrorist wrapping paper is all that's needed to disguise even the most egregiously pro-corporate legislation. The telecoms want this change to reduce sharing of network connections, pure and simple.

  • Re:What a pity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:31AM (#25039673)

    seven years in to the stark reality posed by the threat of Islamic terrorism, I am surprised that India hasnt opted to carpet bomb Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

    Seven years is the American viewpoint on that "stark reality" ... for Indians it's been a lot, lot longer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:39AM (#25039787)

    With the drink, it's "authenticate the age".

    With wifi, is it "authenticate they are not a terrorist"?

  • Re:What a pity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tomz16 (992375) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:53AM (#25039989)

    I was just thinking the same. Seems to me that if you want anyone to be an 'authorized person', the above doesn't matter.

    That's cool... until one of your "authorized" persons threatens the president!

  • by bendodge (998616) <bendodge@nOsPAm.bsgprogrammers.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:06PM (#25040173) Homepage Journal

    Just wait. IPv6 will make this much easier to enact. Much as I like IPv6 over 4, it has some very scary privacy implications.

  • by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:34PM (#25040651) Journal

    With the drink, it's "authenticate how old they are."

    With wifi, it's "authenticate who they are."

    See, the parallel construction works just fine. It's not that much of a stretch.

    Now, within the letter of this "law", you could still allow "anonymous" access:

    WAP: "Who are you?"
    User: "I'm A. Nony Mouse".
    WAP, to himself: "Is 'A. Nony Mouse' allowed access? Since the authorized users list is the regular expression '.*', yes, he is authorized."
    WAP: "Welcome, Mr. Mouse"

    Perfect compliance with the stated guidelines. Note the absence of any requirement:

    • to validate that an identity is genuine
    • to log or retain the submitted identity
    • to limit access in any fashion

    Futility. It doesn't take that much cleverness to obey the guideline and still carry on as usual.

    If the authorities are serious about stamping out WAP-based anonymity, they're gonna have to try harder.

  • Re:What a pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soren100 (63191) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:47PM (#25040849)

    Then vote for cultural homogeneity? There seldom seems to be OMG Terrorist! or repressive government problems when you have a homogeneous culture.

    That whole "cultural homogeneity" meme is just used as a dismissive tactic to avoid discussing the real reasons the Scandinavian cultures are so successful. Cultural homogeneiety is pretty prevalent in China, Russia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc., just as much as in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc, yet those countries don't get any awards for being great places to live.

    The difference is that the Scandinavian cultures are highly progressive. Education is free to all, and the government will actually pay the students to go to school, so you end up with citizens that are educated on the issues, smart enough to vote for much better government candidates, and don't fall for the "tricks" that less educated voters fall for. So -- surprise -- they don't end up with repressive govnerments. Surprise! The tax money that is generated actually goes to services that are useful to the people that pay them. The citizens get free health care, housing help, and many other services that keep their society, happy, relaxed, and stable.

    In America, our education is hugely expensive, so many people don't get educated. You end up with ignorant voters --> corrupt politicians, deregulation, failing banks, and the current "socialism for the rich", complete with massive government bailouts, but only for rich investors.

    In other countries, with even less educated voters, you end up with worse conditions. It's not a mystery.

  • Re:What a pity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhv (178640) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @01:16PM (#25041319)

    That's funny stuff. The only thing I see our (Canada's) multi-cultural openness leading to is more Sharia-law.....yes more. Majority rules, it's only a matter of time.

    Switzerland, the land of openness, is struggling to close the flood gates now. You would like to think our country could watch, learn and adjust. Alas, we are to passive about anything not having to do with hockey.

  • by adougher9 (1092141) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @01:20PM (#25041419)
    Maybe if the British had not invaded Ireland and killed my family off, you wouldn't have reprisals. Just a thought? Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who...
  • by Venik (915777) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:50PM (#25043007)

    With wifi, it's "authenticate who they are."

    No, not really. With wifi you are not actually authenticating the identity of the person using the connection. Not unless you assign a police officer to stand guard next to every wifi NIC and check photo IDs. With wifi all you can hope to authenticate is the identity of the "user" - a mythical creature that exists only in the password file. This "user" is allowed to enter because he knows a secret handshake. But you still have no idea who he is.

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