No blanket powers to 10 agencies to intercept; every action requires prior approval: MHA

The Centre has been maintaining that the rules for intercepting data were framed in 2009 when the Congress-led UPA was in power and its new order only notified the designated agencies.

Published: 30th December 2018 03:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2018 05:05 AM   |  A+A-

cyber security

Image used for representational purpose only

By Express News Service

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.

READ: Amid snooping row, govt report says monitoring system 'practically complete'

“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.

READ: Centre's snooping order open to misuse, say experts

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. 

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