Home Ministry Authorises Ten Central Agencies To Monitor Computers
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order yesterday authorising ten central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt "any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer."
The agencies are :- 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(RAW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence(For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only), Commissioner of Police Delhi.
The order is issued under Section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act.
As per Sec.69(1), Central Government can authorise any agency to give directions to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.
The power should be exercised on satisfaction that it is necessary or expedient "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 offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence"
The power is to be exercised in the manner provided in Information Technology(Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules 2009. As per Rule 4, only authorized agencies can intercept, monitor and decrypt information on computer resources. Yesterday's notification authorizes these agencies under Rule 4.
On directions of the authorised agencies, the subscriber, intermediary or the person-in-charge of a computer resource should extend all facilities and technical assistance to provide access to the computer information for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decrypting, as per Section 69(3) of IT Act.
Failure to do so will attract punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and fine.
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