Home seeks system to intercept Net chatter

Ministry wants NETRA system,similar to the one with RAW,to let law enforcement agencies listen in

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Published:June 23, 2013 4:26 am

Going beyond tapping of landline and mobile calls,the Ministry of Home Affairs wants another NETRA or NEtwork Traffic Analysis system exclusively for law enforcement agencies to intercept Internet chatter because the only machine with the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) is fully deployed to tap global messages,especially from neighbouring countries.

The NETRA is a software developed by Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR),a laboratory under the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO),to intercept emails,forum messages,blogs,social networks,images but has recently shown limited success in intercepting voice traffic as well.

During a demonstration in January 2012,only 3 Gbps of traffic out of 28 Gbps could pass through NETRA’s probes but an inter-ministerial committee chose it as the Internet monitoring system as it was the only system which could capture Internet data traffic without stalling.

The one with the RAW analyses large amount of international posts crossing through Indian networks and is committed to using specific keywords that seldom match the ones that are of interest to law enforcement agencies who are on the lookout for offenders other than terrorists.

The RAW,therefore,intercept messages with keywords passing through emails,web forums,blogs,social networks and even images that are continuously modified over a period of time until the desired intelligence is achieved.

In contrast,the law enforcement agencies need to capture large packets of voice traffic passing through Skype,Google Talk etc,while using it to scan tweets,messages,emails,blogs and forums with trigger words within the shortest time.

The Ministry has,therefore,recommended that the existing NETRA facility with RAW be retained and another NETRA unit from CAIR be installed for exclusive use of law enforcement agencies.

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