10 Central Agencies authorised by Government to snoop on “any” Computer System
The Union government has notified 10 Central Agencies giving them the power to intercept, monitor and decrypt all the data contained in “any” computer system in India. The Cyber and Information Security Division under the Home ministry issued this notification.
The 10 agencies authorised by the central government are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu & Kashmir, the North-East and Assam) and the Delhi Police.
As per the government, the notification fulfils the requirement under Rule 4 of the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Description of Information) Rules, 2009, under which the government has to list the number of agencies permitted for the interception, monitoring and decryption of any data.
The Information Technology Act, 2000 is the primary law in India to handle cybercrime and to deal with electronic commerce. Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 includes provides for the interception and monitoring along with decryption for cyber-crime investigations. The Information Technology (Procedures and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009, has been notified by the government under Section 69.
This notification by the government has caused quite an uproar in the Indian Parliament. The opposition has termed the recent order as ‘unconstitutional’ and an attack on the Fundamental Rights of the citizens.