- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Cybersecurity related issues.
MHA authorises 10 central agencies to access any computer resource
What to study?
- For Prelims: Agencies allowed to access the information.
- For Mains: Concerns over data privacy and the need for access.
Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order authorising ten security and intelligence agencies of the country to access any information stored in any computer for the purpose of monitoring, decrypting and interception.
Who are these agencies?
The 10 agencies include 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), and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
Highlights of the Order:
- The ministry has vested the authority on the agencies under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
- The order mandates for a subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource to extend technical assistance to the agencies.
- Non-compliance will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
Only data in motion could be intercepted earlier. But now data revived, stored and generated can also be intercepted as powers of seizure have been given. This means not just calls or emails, but any data found on a computer can be intercepted. The agencies will also have powers to seize the devices. The sweeping powers given to agencies to snoop phone calls and computers without any checks and balances is extremely worrisome. This is likely to be misused.
Sources: the hindu.