Govt has 90 ways to tap your phone

Mumbai, February 16 (Agencies): Irrespective of the Supreme Court saying that eavesdropping violates right to life and privacy,he government has bought 90 systems so far enabling intelligence agents to track, hear and record cellphone conversations at will without even approaching the telecom companies, sources said. The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) is one of the strong agencies that the government has for intercepting phone calls. The NTRO is the government’s technical intelligence gathering agency and reports to the national security advisor in the prime minister’s office.
The NTRO has purchased at least six systems and deployed them in Delhi, while the IB has eight such systems in the capital, sources said. Nicknamed ‘Fox’, the device costs about Rs7 crore and can intercept mobile telephony by grabbing the signals as a call is made or received, they added. Some of the guidelines stipulate service providers to appoint round-the-clock nodal officers to act on requests from security and law enforcement agencies within two hours of receiving the intimation about tapping of phones.
On all the intimations sent by the security and law enforcement agencies to the service providers, the service providers will make round-the-clock arrangements and arrange to issue acknowledgement letters within two hours for each of the intimation to the security agency concerned in a sealed cover on receipt of such intimations for interceptions.
 
Coming, phone tap Bill

NEW Delhi, February 16 (Agencies): Pulled up by the apex court on the issue of reckless and illegal phone tapping, the Centre has stepped up pace to finalise guidelines on phone monitoring. The government also intends to bring a Right to Privacy Bill in the forthcom­ing session of Parliament. The draft of the Bill is being discussed by the Union Home Ministry.
Top government sources said that the Intelligence Bureau has been asked to verify the 2,000-odd sets of equipment imported for the purposes of phone monitoring. The IB is expected to send a detailed report to the Home Ministry by the month-end — pinpointing those of the devices that have been used illegally for interception, so that penal action can be taken against the violators. Several of the 2,000-odd devices are said to be in the hands of private persons who are using them to blackmail corporate houses and politicians by illegally tapping their phones. “The Cabinet Secretary has already finalised a report of the committee set up by the PM to look into unauthorised wire tap on the complaint of Ratan Tata. The report is with the PM,” said sources. 
Besides this, the Centre will soon be asking all States and Union Territories to file details every month with the Home Ministry on phone-monitoring authorisations given by them. Also, to restrict the knowledge of service providers regarding whose phones are being tapped and what information is accessed in the process, the government plans to set up a central monitoring hub in the Depar­tment of Telecommunications.


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