MHA on Friday authorised 10 central government agencies for the purpose of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.

Meanwhile after severe criticism of Move Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitely has defended the move and said on his twitter handle as follows:-

” The Information Technology Act has been in existence for almost two decades. Section 69 of the IT Act authorises in the interest of sovereignty, integrity etc. to direct a notified agency to intercept or monitor or decrypt an information stored in a computer resource.

There are safeguards, as prescribed by the Supreme Court, which are included in the rules. An interception or monitoring is only authorised under an specific approval of the Home Secretary.

The rules required authorised agencies to be notified. In the absence of this authorisation, any police officer may start exercising the power.

In fact, during UPA-II in a detailed debate in Parliament relating to a corporate lobbyist, the then Home Minister Shri P. Chidambaram strongly defended this power of interception being given to taxation authorities.

There is no general snooping order. The power to intercept in the interest of national security and public order already exists in law. This is only an order as to who are the authorised agencies.

The power existed and was used during the UPA Government also. How else will terrorists who use technology extensively be traced? Otherwise, the terrorists will use IT, but the intelligence and investigative agencies will be crippled.”

Some interesting tweets on the issue-

 

MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

(CYBER AND INFORMATION SECURITY DIVISION)

ORDER

New Delhi. the 20th December, 2018

S.O. 6227(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 69 of the Information Technology Act. 2010(21 of 2000) read with rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception. Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules. 2009. the Competent Authority hereby authorises the following Security and Intelligence Agencies for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the said Act, namely:—

(i) Intelligence Bureau;

(ii) Narcotics Control Bureau:

(iii) Enforcement Directorate;

(iv) Central Board of Direct Taxes;

(v) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence;

(vi) Central Bureau of Investigation;

(vii) National Investigation Agency;

(viii) Cabinet Secretariat (RAW);

(ix) Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir. North-East and Assam only);

(x) Commissioner of Police. Delhi.

[No.14/07/2011-T]

RAJIV GAUBA. Union Home Secy.

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