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article imageIndian government to monitor private computers

By Tim Sandle     Dec 24, 2018 in Technology
It represents a major exercise in surveillance and it has come in an unexpected announcement. The Indian government to intercept, monitor, and decrypt citizens’ computers.
With this development, the Indian government has passed legislation permitting ten central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt data on any computer. The decision has caused alarm among the population and it has been criticised by privacy watchdogs, according to a report on VB. The opposition Congress Party has also gone on record criticising the implementation of the legislation.
The legislation passed y Narendra Modi’s government relates to Section 69 of the country’s Information Technology Act, 2000. The extension now requires a subscriber, service provider, or any person in charge of a computer to: “extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies.”
The agencies with the new powers are: Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East and Assam) and Delhi Police commissioner.
As a way of a 'safeguard', each request by an agency to monitor a computer needs to be agreed by the Union Home Secretary, who is in charge of the interior ministry of India. The department it is mainly responsible for the maintenance of internal security and domestic policy.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs reads: "Each case of interception, monitoring, decryption is to be approved by the competent authority i.e. Union Home secretary. These powers are also available to the competent authority in the State governments as per IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules 2009."
Furthermore, rebuffing allegations that intolerance was rising in the country, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that no nation in the world was as tolerant as India: “India is the only country in the world where people from various prominent religions co-exist peacefully… They have contributed in making India empowered, self-reliant and prosperous and will continue to do so.”
In terms of punitive punishments for not complying with a request from the government, failure to comply with an instruction from one the agencies can lead to up to seven years of imprisonment plus an unspecified fine.
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