The ‘Bulli Bai Case’ involves a group of men developing an app where :
“Once opened, a Muslim woman’s face was randomly displayed as Bulli Bai. Muslim women with a strong presence on Twitter, including journalists, have been singled out and their photos uploaded.”Source
This was spotted by the said journalists and reported to the police, leading thereafter to the usual outrage from the usual suspects. A few examples :
There are some real lessons to draw from this. Let’s take a closer look.
The App is ‘Open Source’ and the Developers Anonymous
It appears that the app was hosted on Github, a popular platform for ‘open source’ software.
This means that the code is open, easily reproducible, and impossible to ‘shut down’.
While Github seems to have shut down the developers’ account, the developer could just as easily host the code on a million different platforms.
There is no need for the app to exist on a platform such as Google Play either. The developers could easily publish and distribute a self-standing ‘APK’ of the app, which would allow anyone to download and use it. Regardless of whether Github, Google and the rest try to ‘ban it’.
The developers also seem to be anonymous. Anybody doing something this outrageous would probably also take the precautions to not ‘leak’ their identity to any have the platform – they would be using VPNs, anonymous emails, burner phone numbers.. the works. So it’s unlikely that they will be found.
On that note, we recommend the following privacy guide. As this drama shows, privacy is more important for normal people than for criminals, and if you’re not taking it seriously, you could be next on such an app. Stop using Google by the way you’re not doing yourself any favours.
Result : There is No Way to Fight This Using ‘The Force of the Law’
As usual, our great talking heads have talked about how this is ‘against the law’, that ‘FIRs have been registered’, etc.
Truth is, if the developers had any brains, it’s going to be impossible to find them and prosecute them (see above).
The Solution : Bring a Gun to A Gun Fight
You’re not going to fight this thing with ‘the law’. You need to up your game.
Learn how to secure your personal information and data. Learn why it’s a bad idea to publish your pictures on random platforms (yes, Facebook and Instagram also harvest your information and can harm you. Google is not your friend).
Go through this personal security checklist.
More importantly, you’re going to have to fight back on the same terms.
Nothing is stopping you from making a similar app to identify ‘Hindutva’ gangsters and mobilise to bully them back when they’re on their own going to meet their gay buddies. Or other ‘religious enforcers’ from other ‘minority communities’. Or publishing the personal details of politicians.
Just sayin’. Might even catch on.
In either case, crying, outrage and invoking ‘the law’ won’t work. You need to tool up for fighting the battles of the 21st century – the century of the ‘sovereign individual‘.