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How The IT Act Allows The Indian Government To Spy On Internet Connections

Yesterday, we pointed towards a report in DNA which indicates that the Mumbai Police has set up a team to track content being downloaded from the web by citizens, and explained the implications with respect to privacy of citizens, and effectively goes against the spirit of the 1996 PUCL judgment which established procedures for the government to tap phone lines. Now if you look at the IT Act, passed by Parliament in 2008 with almost no debate, it actually enables snooping by the government by forcing intermediaries (like ISPs) to provide all assistance to the government, else face imprisonment. From Page 13 of the IT Act (download): Section 69B of the IT Act states: (1) The Central Government, may, to enhance cyber security and for identification, analysis and prevention of intrusion or spread of computer containment in the country, by notification in the Official Gazette, authorise any agency of the government to montor and collect traffic data or information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource. (2) The intermediary or any person in-charge or the computer resource shall, when called upon by the agency which has been authorised under sub-section (1), provide technical assitance and extend all facilities to such agency to enable online access or to secure and provide online access to the computer resource generating, transmitting, receiving or storing such traffic data or information. (3) The procedure and safeguards for monitoring and collecting traffic data or information, shall be such as may be prescribed. (4) Any intermediary who…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

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