Expressing surprise and concern over the reports of snooping by the US intelligence, New Delhi on Tuesday said it would be unacceptable if Indian privacy laws were violated by spying on the electronic communication channels.
India was ranked the fifth most tracked country by the US intelligence, which used a secret data-mining tool ‘Boundless Informant’ to monitor Internet data worldwide, according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
“Yes, we are concerned and surprised about it,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
“Obviously, we will find it unacceptable if Indian laws relating to privacy of information of Indian ordinary citizens have been violated. Surely we will, frankly, find it unacceptable.”
After Iran, Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt, India came fifth with 6.3 billion reports generated in March this year, as per a slide on the ‘Boundless Informant’ tool released by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The MEA spokesperson said both countries should have a cyber security dialogue.
“We feel that this is the appropriate fora to discuss such issues. We intend to seek information and details during consultations between interlocutors from both sides on this matter in that appropriate forum,” he noted.
Despite the strong words, he added that reports about the worldwide US electronic snooping was a developing situation.
“Every day, we find new issues coming up. We will take it, rather than jump to conclusions at this stage… We will take it as it evolves and have a better understanding and a clearer paradigm of how to tackle this issue once broader parameters in its entirety are available for us,” the MEA spokesperson said.
‘Danger in US Control of Internet’
Taking a strong exception to US surveillance, the CPM on Tuesday demanded that the Centre should protest against the intrusive intelligence gathering by the US with the help of companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
The CPM said India should join hands with other countries to make these companies accountable to the people who use their services across the globe.
“India must also press for an immediate initiative to democratise Internet governance and ensure that the US intelligence agencies do not override the sovereignty of the countries and rights of individuals,” the CPM said in a statement.
“It is significant that India is a major target of such intelligence gathering. It is the fifth largest target of such snooping, even ahead of countries such as China and Russia. The US response, including that of President Obama, is that its National Security Agency was spying only on foreigners; privacy of no US citizens was violated and no US laws were broken; and this was being done in the US national interest,” the party said in a statement.
It is now clear that the current control of Internet and its global governance under the US Department of Commerce contract means that the US Government controls the Internet.