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Order on surveillance meant to protect privacy, govt. tells SC

  • The Centre told the Supreme Court that its December 20, 2018 notification allowing 10 central agencies to snoop on people is in fact a measure to protect citizens’ privacy.
  • The Order on surveillance allows central agencies, from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police, to intercept, monitor and de-crypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”.
  • The order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology 2009 Rules (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

Governemnt stand -

  • Government has said that the very purpose of the order is to ensure that surveillance is done as per due process of law – any interception, monitoring, decryption will be done only by authorised agencies and with approval of competent authority
  • Right to privacy of citizen will not be violated as it prevents unauthorized use of these powers by any agency, individual or intermediary
  • Surveillance is necessary “in the modern world where modern tools of information communication, including encryption, is used
  • Surveillance is done only in the defence of India, to maintain public order, etc.
  • There are grave threats to the country from terrorism, radicalisation, cross border terrorism, cybercrime, drug cartels and these cannot be ignored or under-stated.  There is a need for “speedy collection of actionable intelligence” to counter threat to national interests. 
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