Article 69 on law books since 2009, but the order may present a risk: Experts
The government’s order to empower 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt all data contained in any computer system in the country has again sparked a privacy debate. Many experts DNA spoke to expressed concern and said there was a real risk of abuse and the order should be reconsidered.
The development, which came after the Supreme Court ruling in August last year, upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution. Experts say it is a violation of the law while some say the government has the right to protect state interests for national security purposes.
âIn view of the notice on the right to privacy recognized as a fundamental right, the Indian state’s oversight mechanism needs to be reviewed,â said Mishi Chaudhary, Managing Partner of Mishi Choudhary Associates and Founder of SFLC.in (software Freedom Law Center).
Although, she says, section 69 has been in the law books since 2009, the authorization of these new agencies is a recent development. “The procedures require that the preparation of such an order be provided in writing. The inclusion of CBDT, Directorate of Tax Intelligence and Police Commissioner, Delhi appears to fall outside the scope of the reasons set out in the section.”
Mahesh Uppal, founder of ComFirst, a consultancy firm, said: âThe courts will rule on its legality in due course. There is a real risk of abuse of such extensive powers and we should all be concerned.
In an order issued Thursday, the Home Office said in an order that agencies have authorized “for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computing resource under of the said law (article 69 of the IT law of 2000) “. Article 69 of the IT law deals with “the power to issue instructions for the interception, surveillance or decryption of any information through any IT resource”.