Indian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narender Modi has decided to snoop on all the computers operating in the subcontinent from early next year. The decision was taken by the central government on late Thursday ( Dec 20, 2018) and was made public to the populace from Friday.
A spokesperson from the BJP led government said that the authorization was given to 10 central agencies empowering them to intercept and monitor online content, including calls and data of individuals and private entities.
The opposition party i.e. Congress government under the leadership of its Shri Rahul Gandhi has condemned the snooping act as atrocious and a misuse of power by the BJP government.
However, the Cyber and Information Security division of the Ministry of Home Affairs supported the surveillance act and said that it was in accordance to the 2009 IT law and dismissed opposition’s charge of snooping, saying that they were playing with the National security.
As per the details available to our Cybersecurity Insiders, as of now, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, RAW and the Intelligence Bureau have been awarded the right to monitor all the data on the computers via several means.
But before monitoring the data, the agencies have to take prior permissions from the court and the government to tap personal content and the level of officer allowed to do so will be answerable to any future controversy arising from the incident.
So, all the technology companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook and internet service providers along with Telecommunication Companies like Jio 4G & Airtel are being requested to support the government on the issue.
Note 1- The order runs contrary to recently pronounced Indian Supreme Court’s decision on data privacy.
Note 2- Earlier only Home Ministry of India had the privilege to scan calls and emails of the people.
Note 3- As per the 2009 Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring & Decryption Act passed on during the regime of the then ‘UPA’ Government, the government has the authority to intercept and monitor any data stored on any computer. But the interception can only be done by officers not below the rank of joint secretary in GOI.