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The Silicon Review Asia

Ruling BJP Okays Snooping on Computers, Faces Backlash from Congress-led Opposition

Ruling BJP Okays Snooping on Computers, Faces Backlash from Congress-led Opposition

The government of India has tasked with ten of its federal agencies to monitor and intercept information from any computer. But the move did not go well with opposition parties.

According to a Reuters report, the interior ministry said that the agencies under an Information Technology Act could “intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer.”

“For the nation’s security, these agencies have been made accountable so that no one else can do these activities,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for law and justice and information technology, told reporters on Friday.

The opposition led by the Congress said the move risked creating a “surveillance state”.

“From Modi Sarkar to stalker sarkar, clearly the string of losses has left the BJP government desperate for information,” the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.

“It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgement that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. The government has done it by strength we collectively oppose it,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said. The order gives ultimate powers to state agencies for surveillance, which is unacceptable, he added.

“If anybody is going to monitor the computer, including your computer, that is the Orwellian state. George Orwell is around the corner. It is condemnable,” said Congress leader P. Chidambaram.

The agencies given the powers include Research and Analysis Wing, the Intelligence Bureau, the National Investigation Agency, the financial crime-fighting Enforcement Directorate, the Narcotics Control Bureau and tax investigators etc.

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