Snooping powers to investigative agencies
Omar pins hopes on SC; Azad says, only threat nation is facing is from BJP
Srinagar, Dec 21: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah Friday hoped that the Supreme Court will take a “long hard look” at the legality of the Centre’s order which allows government agencies to intercept “any information” contained in any computer system, another former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said only threat India faced was “from BJP”.
“Given that the government has now authorised multiple agencies to snoop on the personal & official computers of the Hon’ble judges of the Supreme Court I hope the SC takes a long hard look at the legality of the order. #surveillancestate #emergency2pointzero,” Omar tweeted.
The order passed late Thursday by the ‘Cyber and Information Security’ division of the Union Home Ministry authorises 10 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to intercept, monitor, and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.
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. Failing to do so will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
The agencies are the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (for service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
Meanwhile, another former chief minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said “the only threat that the nation faces is from the BJP and its government.”
Terming the move as “wrong”, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said such a provision should be used selectively for a district or a region where the law and order situation was bad.
“But, they have done it for the entire country, without specifying any region or district, or person. Are we all anti-nationals? Now all the 1.3 billion people are under suspicion and our telephones and computers will be checked. This is wrong.
“Whenever the BJP feels it is going out of power, it talks about the nation being in danger. The country is not in danger…It is because of the BJP that the nation is in danger. If they go, the danger will come to an end. It is due to them that the country is in danger and is weakened,” Azad told reporters outside Parliament.
He earlier raised the issue in Rajya Sabha leading to an uproar in the Upper House.
The senior Congress leader said the country, from 1947 to 2014, was united and Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians were together.
“The biggest danger to the country is the BJP and its government and it is due to them that the country is in danger. India faces no other threat,” he said.
Opposition parties led by the Congress have joined hands to oppose the government’s move to authorise 10 central agencies to intercept “any information” on computers, describing it as “unconstitutional, undemocratic and an assault on fundamental rights”.