Reliance Jio - Thoughts

Indian Telecommunication space has become stagnant these past few years with Airtel, Vodafone, Idea dominating the news. As a result, the competition in this space has ceased and so are the options available to the consumers. I remember innovative plans during my college days like 2007/2008 where a scheme was introduced measuring the cost of a call based on seconds rather than minutes.

But over the years, Innovation has come to a halt with the big ones consolidating their leads. No new bill boards introducing plans, no choices for consumers to choose a similar plan with reduced cost. It is in this time that Reliance Jio(on 22nd Thursday, 2016) has announced a host of plans for their telecommunication platforms that will increase the competition across these companies. Plans introduced by Reliance Jio is sure to shake this up as it goes live on September 5. Already the shares of these existing big-wigs has taken a beating. One can expect the prices of various plans from Airtel, Vodafone, Idea to come down.

But these great plans announced at the Reliance event hides a terrible detail that will reduce the privacy of more than a billion people to nothing.

I will quote from the horse’s mouth

For Reliance… data is the new oil, and intelligent data is the new petrol

Mukesh Ambani

This is deeply disturbing that someone who is expected to revolutionize the telecom industry is this unmindful of the privacy concerns. No one has raised any cry over this. Top executives from Reliance Jio has told Reuters

It’s called Deep Packet Inspection, and what you can do with the analytics of that is mind-boggling

We can be sure that these data will be shared with the Indian government. After all, here is our government about privacy in Supreme Court

Right to Privacy is not a fundamental right under our Constitution. It flows from one right to another right. Constitution makers did not intend to make right to privacy a fundamental right.

Currently, there is no awareness among the populace about privacy concerns and I worry that when this becomes an issue raised by the minority, this violation will be commonplace and the majority will already be accustomed to this. There is an urgent need to educate the masses about the importance of privacy and what it means when we surrender our privacy to the Government. The only problem is I don’t know how to raise this issue even with my fellow colleagues1, let alone convince them the importance of privacy without being labeled paranoid.

  1. 99.999% of them have an Android phone and use apps that reduce their privacy to nothing. Everybody has installed Uber, Facebook, Whatsapp in their mobiles. Facebook’s reputation to respect the privacy of the users was already bad in desktops but now with unlimited access to phones, the concept of users privacy is completely non existent. Uber on the other hand periodically sends your location data back to its servers. Why does Amazon app want access to my contacts? Let’s not even forget the granddaddy of them all Google