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Govt. Can Now Monitor Any Computer Using These 10 Central Agencies

| Published on December 21, 2018

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday released an order authorising 10 Central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.

The agencies to be involved in this process are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation; National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.

According to the order, any subscriber or service provider or person in charge of the computer resource will have to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite 7-year imprisonment and fine.

MHA gave the authorisation under 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which says that 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 cognizable offense relating to above or for investigation of any offense.”

This means not just calls or emails, but any data found on a computer can be intercepted. The agencies will also have powers to seize the devices,” the report added. As per the report, earlier IB had no power to seize devices but now it can.

Expressing his views over this, Congress’ Ahmed Patel said, “The sweeping powers given to the agencies to snoop phone calls and computers without any checks and balances is extremely worrisome. This is likely to be misused.”

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