Is India Turning Into A Surveillance Society?February 28th, 2009 - 8:55 pm ICT by VKS
A recent request by Perry4Law to the Government of India, including Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, for reformulating Cyber Law of India has once again raised a very pertinent question. Is India turning into a “Surveillance Society”? Surveillance, including e-surveillance, is a must for the security and safety of a nation. However, the same must be kept within the limits so that there is no Privacy Violation of the Citizens. Cyber Terrorism in India has necessitated surveillance and e-surveillance in India.
There must be adequate mechanisms to tackle terrorism in India. With the ever increasing use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by terrorist for giving effect to their nefarious activities, it becomes essential to adopt “techno-legal measures” to tackle the same. This is more so when the insecure wireless networks are abused by them for terrorism and cyber terrorism purposes.
“Terrorism and Cyber Terrorism has become intertwined and we need Techno-Legal Solutions to effectively tackle the same. We need an “Expert Institution” that can manage these issues in India. To meet this objective India must concentrate upon stringent cyber law, robust cyber security, capable cyber forensics workforce and sound and stringent crisis management strategies to tackle terrorist attacks with an iron hand. We must actively use legitimate e-surveillance, artificial intelligence, train workforce in Techno-Legal Matters, etc in this regard” suggest Mr. Praveen Dalal.
The position of e-surveillance under the IT Act, 2000 is very clear. Section 69 of IT Act, 2000 empowers the Controller of Certifying Authority to order the interception of electronic information transmitted through any computer systems in India. However, after the proposed Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2008 things have changed drastically. The Constitutionality of the Bill, 2008 is under severe attacks. The privacy rights of Citizens must be reconciled with the surveillance requirements of the States. The sensitive data of users must be protected from eavesdrop and unauthorised access. A well defined and legally sustainable e-surveillance framework must be established by the Government of India (GOI). The proposed Bill, 2006 does not seems to be doing the same. The cyber law experts of India are suggesting for proper guidelines and framework before invoking the drastic e-surveillance powers in India. Let us hope the GOI would accept the suggestions of Perry4Law and Mr. Praveen Dalal.