Centre authorises agencies to snoop into any computer

Ten investigating agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, CBI, and the Enforcement Directorate, can also monitor data stored on computers, following a new order of the Union Home Ministry.

The order of the ministry’s cyber and information security wing, signed by Home Secretary RK Gauba, authorises these agencies for “interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.

The other agencies listed in the ministry order are the Intelligence Bureau, the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the National Investigation Agency, the Cabinet Secretariat (Research & Analysis Wing), the Directorate of Signal Intelligence (restricted to Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast) and the Delhi Police Commissioner.

The powers given to these 10 agencies come under the ambit of the Information Technology Act section 69 allowing the controller of certifying authorities to direct any government agency to intercept any information transmitted through any computer resource, if required for the country’s sovereignty and integrity, security, friendly relations with a foreign power, preventing incitement for committing an offence and to maintain public order.