A huge row has erupted over the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order authorising ten security and intelligence agencies of the country to access information stored in any computer for interception and monitoring.
A Government order undersigned by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba listed names of ten Central agencies who have been allowed to intercept, monitor, decrypt information on all computers.
The agencies 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 (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
The order invited sharp criticism from the Opposition which accused the Modi government of turning the country into a surveillance state. Here's who said what:
P Chidambaram, former Finance Minister
Not studied the matter, but if anybody is going to monitor computers then it is an Orwellian state(a condition that George Orwell identified as destructive for a free society)
Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM
I have come to know that Union Home Ministry has issued an order yesterday authorising 10 Central Agencies to carry out interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource. If it is for National Security, then only for that purpose Central Government already has the machinery. But, why all commoners will be affected? Public Opinion please.
Ahmed Patel, Rajya Sabha member, Congress
The sweeping powers given to agencies to snoop phone calls and computers without any checks and balances is extremely worrisome. This is likely to be misused
Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM chief and Lok Sabha member
Modi has used a simple Government Order to permit our national agencies to snoop on our communications. Who knew that this is what they meant when they said ‘ghar ghar Modi’. George Orwell’s Big Brother is here and welcome to 1984.
Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader
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.
Ram Gopal Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader and MP
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.
WATCH: Opposition slams Modi govt over order giving snooping powers to investigative agencies