Beware! Intelligence agencies can now snoop on your PCs

New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday, permitting India’s intelligence agencies for monitoring, decrypting and interception has authorized them to access any information stored on any computer.

The order was issued on December 20, 2018, by MHA’s cyber and information security division under the sub-section (1) of section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The order also mandates the computer users, subscribers, service providers in charge of any computer source to extend technical assistance to the agencies. It further mandates non-compliance of the order would invite seven-year imprisonment and fine, TOI reports.

The MHA has now authorized ten Intelligence agencies including the 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, to access any computer resource in India.

The order copy from a news source shows the order is undersigned by Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba.

Responding to the new orders, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury condemned the Government’s action as “unconstitutional”.

“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,” wrote Yechury.

While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram compared the order to a situation called “Orwellian state”.

“Not studied the matter, but if anybody is going to monitor computers then it is an Orwellian state,” he said Chidambaram.