Saturday, November 26, 2011

Surveillance of Internet Traffic In India

E-surveillance in India is no more a secret as Indian government is openly engaging in e-surveillance activities. This is despite the fact that an unregulated and unguided e-surveillance is violating the civil liberties protection in cyberspace in India.

Now e-surveillance is proposed to be expanded to even mobile infrastructure. The cell site location based e-surveillance in India is also in contemplation. Cell site data location laws in India and privacy issues are once again bypassed for this proposal. Even the e-surveillance policy of India is missing that can provide some safeguards against illegal and unconstitutional e-surveillance in India.

Similarly projects like Aadhar project of India, central monitoring system project of India, etc are also intended to strengthen the e-surveillance capabilities of India without and constitutional safeguards.

On the top of India, India is trying every possible method to discourage the cyber security initiatives like encryption. Encryption policy of India is missing and so are encryption laws in India.

Now Indian government has forced the telecom service providers and internet service providers (ISPs) to deploy monitoring equipment for surveillance of internet traffic as per the conditions of the respective license agreements and as per the requirements of security agencies. At present, indigenous internet monitoring systems are being deployed in the network of ISPs.

Based on the feedback and traffic projections provided by the ISPs, the internet monitoring systems are upgraded and deployed continuously as per the requirement of security agencies.

India needs to upgrade its intelligence infrastructure that is in real mess. Intelligence agencies need to develop intelligence gathering and analysis skills so that situations like the present one can be taken care of. E-surveillance is not a substitute for cyber skills and Indian government and its agencies must realise this truth as soon as possible.

Even by forcing the telecom service providers and ISPs to filter internet traffic at large would not serve any purpose. Cyber criminals and terrorists are already well aware to use sophisticated technology to hide their tracks. This exercise would only violate the civil liberties of law abiding citizens.

Fortunately, Yahoo has dragged Indian government regarding e-surveillance to the Delhi High Court and a judicial scrutiny of e-surveillance in India may be possible. Time has come to consider all these aspects in detail and at the highest levels by the Indian government and parliament of India.