Opposition parties have come down heavily on the central government for its order authorising a number of investigative agencies to monitor and intercept data from private computers. The order passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs have authorised 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”. The Opposition parties including Congress, CPI(M), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Trinamool Congress have spoken out against the order terming it as unconstitutional and against fundamental rights.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the order was against the right to privacy, which was a fundamental right. “The government has done it by stealth and we collectively oppose it. This gives unlimited powers to all these agencies to monitor every information that interest them and complete surveillance which is unacceptable in democracy,” Sharma said.
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav also slammed the government and said the present government should refrain from making such moves with just a few months left for the general elections. “This government has only a few months left and it should not dig potholes for itself as a new government will be installed in the centre soon,” he said.
TMC leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy termed the move as ‘draconian’, while CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked as to why every citizen was treated as a criminal. “Why is every Indian being treated like a criminal? This order by a govt wanting to snoop on every citizen is unconstitutional and in breach of the telephone tapping guidelines, the Privacy Judgement and the Aadhaar judgement,” Yechury tweeted.
RJD’s Manoj Jha said that it was a cause of concern for not just parliamentarians, but for every Indian. The new government order says that 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. Failing to do so will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
The agencies authorised by the government are the Intelligence Bureau, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, 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.