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Delhi High Court directs Centre to detail the legal process used to intercept phones

The court directed the government to file a detailed reply to a petition challenging multiple surveillance projects.

"Point out in detail the law and procedure followed by the Union of India for monitoring and interception of phones,” the Delhi High Court ordered during a hearing on August 31, according to a LiveLaw report.  The court was hearing a petition filed by the Center for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) which challenges the validity of surveillance projects such as CMS (Centralised Monitoring System), NETRA (Network Traffic Analysis), and NATGRID (National Intelligence Grid).  The three surveillance systems put together are believed to cast a wide snooping net on Indian citizens, like America's PRISM programme, with very few checks and balances in place. Concerns against such surveillance systems have increased in light of the Pegasus controversy which revealed the true extent of state surveillance. What happened during the hearing?  Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioners, argued that the widespread snooping arising out of these projects is an invasion of citizens' right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. He urged the bench to form a committee headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court to investigate these projects and the extent of their surveillance. Bhushan, in his arguments, also charged that issuing interception orders has become routine and cited the following passage from a report by the Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B.N. Srikrishna: "For  each  of  these  mechanisms,  oversight  is  carried  out  through  a  Review  Committee  set  up  under  the  Telegraph  Rules.379  This  Committee …

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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