Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba issued an order authorising ten central agencies with “interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order on Thursday enabling 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 intercept information stored on any computer device.
According to the notification, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.
MHA authorised the agencies to intercept information under 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which says that Central Government can direct any agency after it is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do so in the “interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence”.
The current notification is to intercept information on computers. Earlier, the government had authorised agencies to tap phone calls after permission from the Union Home Secretary. The order was last updated in 2011 and helps agencies to seek details social media accounts and telephone interception.
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