In view of security concerns, the Government of India has authorised 10 central agencies the power to check and access information stored in any computer.
The directive, issued on Thursday, by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), authorises central intelligence and security agencies access to information stored, received or transmitted in computers.
According to the directive, the agencies can intercept, monitor and decrypt “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.
The 10 agencies empowered to intercept are — 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(RAW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only), and Commissioner of Police, Delhi
The order, issued under Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, was signed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.
The notifications says: “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000) read with rule 4 of the Information Technology ( Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009,… the Competent Authority hereby authorises Security and Intelligence Agencies for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under the said Act.”
“Subscribers or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will have to share all facilities and technical assistance to the 10 listed agencies,” says the notification. “Failure to do so will result in seven years jail and fine.”