The Narendra Modi government has now given license to the central agencies to snoop on data and computers across India due to national security issue.
The Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has revealed it in a Gazette of India and said that 10 central agencies will now be equipped with the full power to “interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”
As per the list prepared by the Cyber and Information Security Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the agencies listed are Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Delhi Police Commissioner.
A senior bureaucrat has told NDTV that “For the first time, powers of scanning data at rest have been given to various agencies. Earlier, only data in motion could be intercepted. But now data revived, stored and generated can also be intercepted as powers of seizure have been given.”
MHA: Competent authority hereby authorizes the following security and intelligence agencies (in attached statement) for purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the said act pic.twitter.com/3oH9e7vv6T— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2018
This clearly indicated that now these 10 agencies will have the power to intercept calls, messages, computers and other data and even can confiscate it if and when required.
The officer further said that “IB (Intelligence Bureau) has no powers of seizure - they operate in collaboration with state police forces. Now it seems to have changed with the new notification.”
The home ministry has given this power to the agencies under 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which deals with the national interest and security of the nation, wherein the new order said, “interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence.”