Ministry of home affairs released a circular on 20th December 2018, that affects the privacy on a whole new level.
The new law makes it legal for 10 central agencies (surveillance and intelligence) of India to access resources of any computer in India. In short they are authorized to intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource in India.
Digital Privacy concerns and those concerns revolving around data leaks were rising at an alarming rate from the past few years, yet this new policy is something that ignores those concerns.
Ministry of Home affairs new order of cyber & information security division
The new order came into light when a digital image of the policy was first shared by ANI News agency.
MHA: Competent authority hereby authorizes the following security and intelligence agencies (in attached statement) for purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the said act pic.twitter.com/3oH9e7vv6T
— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2018
Ministry of home affairs has processed the order under the sub-section (l) of section-69 of the Information technology act 2000 read with rule 4, (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009. Allows 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 the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to have access to any computer resource and the later states that these agencies are authorized interpret, monitor and decrypt any information, if its in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India. For the purpose as specified under sub-section (l) of section-69 of Information technology act 2000.
In other words, the data inside your computer can be accessed by these 10 central agencies. Furthermore the order makes it mandatory for subscription or service providers to give technical assistance to the above mentioned agencies. Non-compliance could lead to 7 years of imprisonment. The law is undersigned by Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba.
One thing you should keep in mind
Although, we did mentioned that this is a new policy, however, the act already existing in the IT Act 2008 version. The section-69 mentioned in the previous versions that the data will be interpreted, monitored and decrypted but nowhere in the older version the concerned agencies were mentioned.
For more information check this twitter thread of a lawyer :-
This MHA order fails the test of section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act at the threshold. Clearly ultra vires the Act. pic.twitter.com/4G9WTgA256
— अंशुल (@Ghair_Kanooni) December 21, 2018
The above twitter thread explained properly how this policyfails the test of section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act.
The rising concerns of people
The new policy has drawn criticism shows the rising concerns of people throughout the country. As people are assuming that this could be the beginning of a further surveillance on the citizens by the government. A foundation called “Internet of freedom” even called this move unconstitutional and a breach of “Privacy judgement”.
— Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) (@internetfreedom) December 21, 2018
Furthermore, Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram as well as Congress party Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel also condemned the new order that allows and authorizes government to snoop on the data of any computer throughout the country.
Digital Privacy has always been the topic of debate every now and then for the last few years.
Hence because of this privacy policies are implemented and improvised ensuring companies to implement right security measurements to protect the user data.
However this new policy or law breaks the moral and ethics of cyber security.