VIJAYAWADA: Terming the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order allowing 10 security and intelligence agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt information on any computer a direct assault on the fundamental right to privacy, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday criticised the Centre’s move.
Naidu’s son and IT Minister Nara Lokesh also slammed the Centre for ‘snooping’ and said that the country had become a ‘NaziNamo’ State.
“The sweeping powers given to Central agencies to snoop phone calls and computers without any checks is extremely dangerous. This step is a direct assault on civil liberties in general and fundamental right to privacy of citizens in particular, guaranteed by Indian Constitution (sic),” Naidu tweeted on Friday.
While Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified that the agencies cannot gain access to anybody’s phone or data unless it is related to national security, IT Minister Lokesh came down heavily on the Centre.
“From democracy to an invasive police State, from feeling secure to being in constant danger, from finding refuge in law and order to getting snooped, from having rights to having no privacy, the world’s largest democracy has today become a #NaziNamo State (sic),” he tweeted.
Jaitley also clarified in the Rajya Sabha that the authorisation was brought to law in 2009 under the UPA regime.
Responding to Lokesh’s tweet in strong words, the BJP State unit through its official handle tweeted back, “Mr @naralokesh Your specialisation from TDP University of spreading lies has made you liar of Andhra. FYI, no new power has been provided to government agency for interception. Same order of authorisation is repeated which was made by your alliance partner Congress Govt in 2009.’’
Fine print of 2008 law, 2009 rules
The order is based on Section 69(1) of information technology Act, 2008, read with Rule 4 of IT Rules, 2009. It provides authorisation for interception
Invoking rule 4 for first time
This is the first time orders under Rule 4 have been issued in the 10 years it has been in effect. Rule 3 says an interception can be carried out only on the Competent Authority’s orders