• Monday, Jun 01, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:43 pm

India empowers agencies to snoop on computers; critics decry 'surveillance state'

  • Published at 08:07 pm December 21st, 2018
INDIA-SURVEILLANCE
A computer keyboard is seen in this picture illustration Reuters

The Supreme Court last year recognised the right to privacy as a fundamental right, and in September it reined in a government push to make a biometric identity system known as Aadhar mandatory for such things as banking and telecom services

India has authorized 10 federal government agencies to intercept and monitor information from any computer, a move opposition parties said on Friday risked creating a "surveillance state."

The interior ministry said late on Thursday the agencies could "intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer" under an Information Technology Act.

"For the nation's security, these agencies have been made accountable so that no one else can do these activities," Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for law and justice and information technology, told reporters on Friday.

The agencies given the powers include the Research and Analysis Wing, the main foreign-intelligence gathering body, the Intelligence Bureau, which focuses on internal operations, the National Investigation Agency, responsible for anti-militant activity, the financial crime fighting Enforcement Directorate, the Narcotics Control Bureau and tax investigators.

They would need approval from the senior-most civil servant in the interior ministry to carry out such surveillance.

But opposition parties led by the Congress party, which governed before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, said the government had introduced the powers "by stealth", without a debate in parliament.

The government was attacking citizens' right to privacy, they said.

"The BJP government is converting India into a surveillance state," former federal minister and Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters, flanked by politicians from many opposition parties.

"We collectively oppose it because this gives unlimited powers to all these agencies to monitor every information, to intercept and complete surveillance which is unacceptable in our democracy."

The Supreme Court last year recognised the right to privacy as a fundamental right, and in September it reined in a government push to make a biometric identity system known as Aadhar mandatory for such things as banking and telecom services.

"The ministry has taken a regressive step by delegating powers to different agencies. This is dangerous because there is no independent oversight of the way interception is carried out," lawyer and privacy activist Raman Chima told Reuters.


54
52
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail