Internet Monitoring Systems - User's Privacy at Stake
Illustration from Safety Act Consultants
It was always believed that, only the Security Agencies are willing to access the data flowing through the World Wide Web. This belief has been proved wrong, since now the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) working under the Ministry of Finance are having plans for accessing the Internet Monitoring Systems. Recently in a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Group, this proposal was put by forward DRI, and a discussion was carried out.
As per the information provided by a top Government official, DRI are willing to have permission to monitor the systems, which are used in bids. They want to have a record of all the deals. The online tracking will also help them to get information of any suspected tax violators.
The Way Ahead
The Ministry of Home Affairs is having multiple strategies, so that they can get access to the various communication networks, all across India. Putting satisfactory monitoring devices is the basic priority before any kind of new services which are been launched by the telecom operators. Already the majority of services in the country are tracked by the security agencies. The main concerns of these monitoring agencies are the upcoming third generation (3G) mobile networks and the high encrypted services, for example, BlackBerry.
The security agencies are dealing with various issues and one of the major one is that they do not have the advanced technology that will help them to crack into any kind of data encryption.
It has been made compulsory to the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) for installing an Internet Monitoring System. Orders for the same are passed by the government. This system will be later used by the various intelligence agencies, as to find out what kind of data is flowing throughout the networks. On the other hand, until now prying of such kind was being carried out only by the appointed agencies. Also, they were managed by the Home Ministry. As said by various industry experts, the request made by the DRI may possibly raise several questions regarding privacy of the user.
An industry expert added that there is a huge requirement of proper law, which will be responsible for governing the Internet monitoring and security. He also said that national security and intelligence is of paramount importance, however few laws should be designed for protecting the privacy of the maximum Internet users who are in no-way related with the anti-social activities.
The model should be built on the lines of developed countries like United States wherein revenue agencies are using similar kind of monitoring systems, so as to look after the various illegal activities, for example money laundering otherwise tax evasion.
The government is definitely taking right steps in looking after the security of the country, however with this they are required to draw a line from where they need to stay away from interfering in the personal lives of the several internet users. Laws to protect their privacy should be properly designed too.