Snooping controversy: Arun Jaitley defends move, says authorisation given under old rules
New Delhi, Dec 21 (IBNS): Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday defended the move made to allow ten central agencies, including the NIA and CBI, to intercept, monitor and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”, by saying that the authorisation was given under old rules.
Speaking in the Parliament, Jaitley said the opposition should have collected all information before raising the issue.
"The Opposition is making a mountain out of a molehill," Jaitley was quoted as saying in the Parliament.
He said the rules, under which the Indian agencies have been authorised to intercept, were framed in 2009.
The Congress was ruling the Centre during that time.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry said in a statement: "This notification does not confer any new powers. Adequate safeguards are provided in the IT Act 2000. Similar provisions and procedures already exist in the Telegraph Act along with identical safeguards. The present notification is analogous to the authorization issued under the Telegraph Act. The entire process is also subject to a robust review mechanism as in case of Telegraph Act."
"Every individual case will continue to require prior approval of Home ministry or state government. MHA has not delegated its powers to any law enforcement or security agency," it said.
"The Statutory order (S.O.) dated 20.12.2018 has been issued in accordance with rules framed in year 2009 and in vogue since then.No new powers have been conferred to any of the security or law enforcement agencies by the S.O. dated 20.12.2018.," it said.
Ten central agencies, including the NIA and CBI, can now intercept, monitor and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.
An order to the effect was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Dec 20. The 10 agencies with the freedom to peek into any computer are the 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 (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
According to the order, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.