Cyber law issues, cyber security and national security are on agenda of Indian government these days. However, till now cyber security in India is not upto the mark and cyber law of India requires an urgent repeal. This is because the entire approach and attitude of India government is defective.
Indian government has failed to understand that e-surveillance is not a substitute for cyber security capabilities. Instead of developing cyber security capabilities of India, the Indian government is stressing upon growing use of e-surveillance in India and Internet censorship in India.
All these exercises of India government have been done without any legal framework supporting these initiatives of Indian government. Phones are tapped in India without a constitutionally valid phone tapping laws in India. The central monitoring system project of India (CMS Project of India) is also not supported by any legal framework. Surveillance of Internet traffic in India is also another area that requires a sound legal framework. Various authorities with far reaching powers have been created without any legal backing.
Now the government has proposed setting up of National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) of India. The NCCC would provide actionable alerts to government departments in cases of perceived security threats. It is hoped that this would help in fighting terrorists and other cyber criminals.
The NCCC will scan whole cyber traffic flowing at the point of entry and exit at India’s international Internet gateways. The web scanning centre will provide actionable alerts for proactive actions to be taken by government departments. All government departments will now talk to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through NCCC for real time information and data on threats. Presently, the monitoring of web traffic is done by Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) which has installed its equipments at the premises of ISPs and gateways.
All tweets, messages, emails, status updates and even email drafts will now pass through the new scanning centre. The centre may probe further into any email or social media account if it finds a perceived threat.
India’s National Security Council Secretariat (NCSC) has asked various departments to assess their needs for officials, who will coordinate with the scanning agency. The National Security Council handles the political, nuclear, energy and strategic security concerns of the country.
This can be another agency without a legal framework. Creating agencies without legal framework is counter productive as it violates civil liberties and human rights. Parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies of India and proposed NCCC is absolutely required. The Indian government must keep this in mind while creating NCCC.