Home Ministry authorises central agencies to monitor computer communications
The Home Ministry on Thursday issued an order granting ten central intelligence and security agencies access to information stored, received or transmitted in computers.
The notice, issued by Home Ministry, says the agencies can intercept, monitor and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”
These ten 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
Notably, the order, issued under Section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act, was signed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
The notification further explains that subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will have to share all facilities and technical assistance to the 10 listed agencies. Failure to do so will result in seven years jail and a fine.
With this, agencies can now conduct surveillance and monitor social media without prior approval from MHA. Importantly, all the 10 investigation agencies will now have more sweeping powers to intercept and monitor information on computer devices.