Months after outrage over Muslim women being 'auctioned' online via 'Sulli Deals', a similar page named 'Bulli Bai' put up images and profiles of Muslim women asking people to join the auction.
Like Sulli Deals, Bulli Bai was created on GitHub. IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday tweeted saying that the GitHub user behind the 'Bulli Bai' app had been blocked and "further action" was being coordinated.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, GitHub is not a social media platform, but rather an online repository for software developers and coders to store codes of their software.
What is GitHub?
Launched in October 2007 byTom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, P. J. Hyett and Scott Chacon, GitHub was acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in 2018.
Using version control, GitHub tracks each and every change made to the code of a software. This allows developers to duplicate and isolate parts of the code to improve or fix them before merging it back with the source code.
GitHub is widely used to host open-source projects allowing multiple people to collaborate on projects. It also helps programmers not associated with the original project to help improve the software.
GitHub states on its website that it currently hosts more than 200 million repositories of code and is used by more than 73 million developers.
Who Can Be On It?
While GitHub is primarily used by developers, coders and software engineers, any lay person can open a free account on GitHub.
Can You Be Anonymous There?
GitHub requires users to only provide an email id to create an account. Users can get verified on the site but can always choose to remain anonymous.
GitHub does not share location-tracking data such as IP address logs and private user content to law enforcement agencies without a valid search warrant.
GitHub's Role In Sulli Deals And Bulli Bai
After the Sulli Deals app went live in July 2020, GitHub took down the app as was the case with Bulli Bai.
"GitHub has long-standing policies against content and conduct involving harassment, discrimination, and inciting violence. We suspended user accounts following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies", a GitHub spokesperson had told BOOM in an emailed response in July 2021.
One of the women targeted by Sulli Deals, Hana Khan, filed an FIR with the Delhi Police. The police wrote to GitHub asking for the IP address of the web page. According to a report in The Hindu, GitHub wrote back asking the Delhi Police to approach them under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed by India and the US in 2005.
There has been no update on this since.
Since GitHub is headquartered in the US, it has no obligation to follow Indian laws. However, in accordance with the MLAT India signed with the US, an Indian central agency can approach an American central agency seeking information pertaining to any case.
According to its terms of service, GitHub does not allow threats of violence, hate speech and discrimination, harassment, impersonation, doxxing and invasion of privacy, and sexually obscene content among other things.
Users found to be breaking the rules can have their content being removed to their account being removed.