The Indian government has authorized 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor, and decrypt data on any computer, sending a shock wave through citizens and privacy watchdogs.
Narendra Modi’s government late Thursday broadened the scope of Section 69 of the nation’s IT Act, 2000 to require a subscriber, service provider, or any person in charge of a computer to “extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies.” Failure to comply with the agencies could result in seven years of imprisonment and an unspecified fine.
In a clarification posted today, the Ministry of Home Affairs said each case of interception, monitoring, and decryption is to be approved by the competent authority, which is the Union Home Secretary.
The agencies that have been authorized with this new power are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East, and Assam), and Delhi Police.
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