Recently on various WhatsApp groups an article published by The Hindu is being shared:
NARRATIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This message and article is being shared a lot and slowly becoming viral on WhatsApp groups and social media due to a simple fact that any news in which government controlled electronic surveillance is highlighted, creates concern in the minds of general public.
Our readers can read the referred article by The Hindu, here
Recently various people & news media organisations have been publishing articles and different point of views about this issue:
|Outlook India||Deccan Herald||Scroll|
|Qrius||Indian Express||Times Of India|
OUR FACT CHECK:
Our readers can read the actual Order issued by Government and published in ‘The Gazette of India –Extraordinary’ as e-gazette on 20th December 2018 here or read it from screenshot’s below:
Highlights of the Order:
Following Security and Intelligence Agencies are authorised for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) read with rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009:
- Intelligence Bureau
- Narcotics Control Bureau
- Enforcement Directorate
- Central Board of Direct Taxes
- Directorate of Revenue Intelligence
- Central Bureau of Investigation
- National Investigation Agency
- Cabinet Secretariat (RAW)
- Directorate of Signal Intelligence (for service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only);
- Commissioner of Police, Delhi
According to the Order as published in ‘The Gazette of India –Extraordinary’, the central or state government and its officers can conduct surveillance of any computer if it is necessary or expedient:
- “In the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
- defence of India
- security of the state
- friendly relations with foreign states or public order or
- for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence” Source: The Hindu & Medianama
“The Hindu, in its report, says that any person, subscriber or service provider who is in charge of the computer resource will be bound to provide all technical assistance to the agency. They also are liable for imprisonment of seven years if they fail to do so. Note that the notice issued by the MHA does not mention anything about the imprisonment.” Source: Medianama
After Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a gazette notification giving surveillance powers to the agencies, there was heavy criticism from many quarters against this notification.
The government countered the criticism saying the notification was issued in accordance with rules framed in 2009 and “in vogue” since then and that “no new powers” have been conferred on any of the agencies.
This notification will “ensure that the provisions of law relating to lawful interception or monitoring of computer resource are followed, and if any interception, monitoring or decryption is required for purposes specified in Section 69 of the IT Act, the same is done as per due process of law and approval of competent authority, i.e. Union Home Secretary”, an official statement said.
It said the entire process is also subject to a robust review mechanism as in the case of the Telegraph Act. The MHA has not delegated its powers to any law enforcement or security agency, it said. Source: Deccan Herald
Fact Crescendo tags this news as ‘Real’ and ‘Breaking News’. We advise our readers to wait and watch how this issue enfolds and whether Government has sufficient checks & balances in place, to protect the fundamental rights of a citizen, against misuse of this Order.
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-Fact Crescendo Team-