21 Dec, 2018 10:23a.m.

Centre issues order so that agensies can snoop into any computer

The Govt have passed an order whereby ten central agencies will have more powers to intercept and monitor information on computer devices. The order signed by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Thursday gives the agencies powers of "interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer".

The agencies listed in the ministry order are

  1. Intelligence Bureau
  2. Narcotics Control Bureau
  3. Enforcement Directorate
  4. Central Board of Direct Taxes
  5. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence
  6. CBI
  7. National Investigation Agency
  8. Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW)
  9. Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only)
  10. Delhi Police Commissioner.

"This is 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.

According to the notification, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource is bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies. If not, they can face seven years in jail and a fine.

The home ministry has authorised the agencies to intercept information under 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which says the central government can direct any agency after it is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do so in the "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".

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