NEW DELHI: Centre has asserted that it has not given “blanket power” to any agency to intercept information from any computer and they have to strictly adhere to the existing rules and stick to the book while carrying out such action.
A senior home ministry official said there is no new law, no new rules, no new procedure, no new agency, no blanket powers, no blanket authorisation and it is the same law, same rule, same procedure and the same agencies.
“There is no change even in a comma or a full stop in the existing rules and regulations,” the official said.
The December 20 notification from the home ministry, listing the 10 agencies, caused a political storm with the opposition alleging that the government was trying to create a “surveillance state”.
The official said that the 10 agencies mentioned in the notification were already empowered to intercept electronic communications since 2011. The central government has been maintaining that the rules for intercepting and monitoring computer data were framed in 2009 when the Congress-led UPA was in power and its new order only notified the designated agencies which can carry out such action.
Justifying the notification, the official said the number of interceptions has gone down since 2014 even though the number of mobile phone connections has gone up and is now around 120 crore. The number of electronic messages had also grown exponentially.