Saturday, January 8, 2011

Central Monitoring System Of India In Pipeline

The proposed central monitoring system (CMS) by department of telecommunication (DoT) is a good step in the right direction. However, the chances of its failure and misuse are much greater than unconstitutional projects like Aadhar, National intelligence grid (Natgrid), etc. The only thing that goes in favour of the proposed CMS is that Mr. Kapil Sibal is the present Minister for the Ministry that is entrusted to implement the project.

Mr. Kapil Sibal being a learned person and a man of integrity, CMS may also have “procedural safeguards” that is rarely considered and provided by Indian government. The decision to frame appropriate rules under the sole cyber law of India, i.e. information technology act, 2000, shows his intention to respect and protect privacy rights and data protection within the limited sphere of cyber law of India.

However, this does not mean that India should not formulate appropriate privacy laws and data protection laws. Absence of privacy laws and data protection laws in India has already made some of the most important projects and authorities of India illegal and unconstitutional.

For instance, Indian law enforcement and intelligence agencies are operating almost without any law. Similarly, Aadhar project and unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) are operating without any law. Phone tapping and e-surveillance in India is done without a constitutionally sound law and so on.

Let us hope that Mr. Kapil Sibal would realise that CMS means putting all telecom communication within the hands of selective people. These selective people must be transparent and accountable through proper safeguards otherwise the whole purpose of CMS would be to further strengthen phone tapping and e-surveillance powers of Indian government and its agencies. Needless to mentions, that would be illegal and unconstitutional like the previous initiatives of Indian government.