Govt can now spy, decrypt and seize any computer data through 10 investigative agencies


The government of India now can monitor and decrypt activities of any computer resource in the country through investigative agencies.

The Home Ministry under the sub-section (1) of section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, has authorised ten investigative agencies to intercept or monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource, said the Home Ministry order signed by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.

The ministry order has authorised agencies such as Enforcement Directorate (ED), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, National Investigation Agency (NIA), Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Delhi Police Commissioner.

MHA order

As per the section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the government can direct any agency if it finds necessary in the “interest of the 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.

The service provider or any person owning the computer resource is bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies. In the case of non-compliance, offenders may face seven years in jail.

This would be the first time in the history of India, such powers of scanning data on computer resource have been handed out to investigative agencies.

Soon after the release of order, it received sharp reactions from political quarters terming it as an attempt by the existing govt to convert the country into a surveillance state.

This would give ultimate power to erode the fundamental right of privacy and monitor every information through surveillance which is not acceptable in a democratic setup, they said.

Meanwhile, Arun Jaitley has hit out at criticism. He said in a series of tweets that there are safeguards, as prescribed by the Supreme Court, which are included in the rules.  An interception or monitoring is only authorised under a specific approval of the Home Secretary.


(The post is updated with Arun Jaitley’s responses on the matter )
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