The Indian Government has yet again defended its decision to let government agencies conduct surveillance of computers under the IT act, 2000. Interception of messages by these agencies has been legalized under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
Reported by Gadgets 360, the center defended its decision stating various security concerns including an increase in radicalization, drug cartels, organized crime, and terrorism.
In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the government states “Though Right to Privacy is a sacred Fundamental Right, the veil of privacy can be lifted for legitimate state interest, sovereignty or integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order”
The report justifies the need for a robust surveillance system that would provide timely actionable intelligence to agencies. In an attempt to appease concerns, the center said that proper channels, laws and operating standards are strictly followed prior to authorizing surveillance on any individual or group.
As reported in December last year, RTI replies in 2011 and 2013 had revealed that authorities were sanctioning requests from 10 government agencies for intercepting over 7500 calls and 500 emails every month. Petitioners asserted that permitting surveillance was in violation of fundamental rights and was not in public interest.
Surveillance by government agencies has caused an uproar around the globe owing to privacy concerns and insider abuse. Will this balloon into another warrantless surveillance controversy? Only time will tell.