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RTI on Officials and Agencies Authorized to Intercept Telephone Messages in India

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jul 15, 2013 05:23 AM
In an RTI mailed on April 17, 2013, the Centre for Internet and Society sought comprehensive information on the officials and agencies authorized to intercept telephone messages in India.

A portion of the RTI still awaits response, as it was redirected to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology. But on May 23, 2013 Rakesh Mittal of the Ministry of Home Affairs responded in brief and directed us to the 2007 Amendment to the 1885 Indian Telegraph Act.

Referring to rule 419-A of the amendment and the Ministry of Home Affairs website, we find that within central government the power to order communications surveillance is normally reserved for Union Home Secretary, a position held by Shir Anil Goswami as of June 30, 2013 (previously R.K. Singh). The amendment goes on to say,  “In unavoidable circumstances,” however, such an order can be commanded by a Joint Secretary who has been authorized by Union Home Secretary Goswami. On the federal level, the Ministry of Home Affairs includes nearly 20 such Joint Secretaries able to be authorized for making interception commands.

A listing of the original question requests are given below:

  1. Please provide a list containing name, rank and office address of the officers/agencies authorized by the Central Government to issue an order for interception under section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act, 1885
  2. Please provide a list containing name, rank and office address of the officers authorized to issue interception orders under Rule 419A(1) of the Telegraph Rules, 1951 in unavoidable circumstances when such orders cannot be issued by the secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  3. Please provide a list containing the name, rank and office address of the officers/agencies designated as “competent authority” in terms of the Rule 419A(1) proviso of the Telegraph Rules, 1951.
  4. Please provide a list of the agencies authorized by the Central Government to intercept, monitor, decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under section 69(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  5. Please provide a list of the agencies authorized by the Central Government to monitor and collect traffic data or information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under section 69-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  6. Please provide a list containing name, rank and office address of the officers/agencies authorized to issue interception orders under Rule 3, first proviso, of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
  7. Please provide a list of the agencies authorised to intercept, monitor, decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring, and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

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