'Zero-change' in UPA-era snooping rules notified by Centre: Home Ministry official
There has been "zero-change" in the UPA-era snooping policy that was notified by the Centre recently, a senior Home Ministry official said Monday.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, the Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Centre and sought its response within six weeks time.
"There has been zero-change in the snooping policy. The rules for intercepting and monitoring computer data were framed in 2009 when the Congress-led UPA was in power and its new order only notified the designated agencies which can carry out such action," he said.
According to the official, the number of interception has come down "significantly" since 2014 even though the number of mobile phone connections in the country has gone up and crossed the 100-crore mark.
"There has been huge proliferation of internet and phone services. Despite that, there has been a significant decline in the number of interceptions done by legally-authorised agencies," he said.
According to an RTI reply of 2013, there were about 7,500-9,000 orders for interceptions of phones and 300-500 for interceptions of emails being issued per month then by the central government.
These agencies are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, Northeast and Assam) and the Delhi Police.
According to the notification, these agencies have been authorised "for the purpose of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the said Act (section 69 of the IT Act, 2000)".