Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NCTC, Intelligence Agencies And Censorship By Google In India

The proposed national counter terrorism centre (NCTC) of India is suffering from many irregularities. This is the reason why NCTC is facing stiff opposition in India. Indian government is trying every possible method to get out of this situation. It is not only denying the basis of such oppositions but is also putting pressure upon companies like Google to filter news and search results.

However, Indian government is not doing what it is absolutely required to do. It is not formulating a constitutionally sound legal framework for NCTC and most importantly for the intelligence agencies of India that are still operating in wild. Despite all wrongs and misuses, parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies of India is missing.

According to Praveen Dalal, leading techno legal expert of Asia and Managing Partner of India’s exclusive techno legal ICT Law Firm Perry4Law, Parliamentary Oversight of NCTC is a Secondary Issue and the more important issue is Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Agencies of India. Presently, Intelligence Agencies of India are operating without any Legal Framework and Parliamentary Oversight and this needs to be changed, opines Praveen Dalal. Even NCTC has been put under the control of Intelligence Bureau (IB) and this practically means no oversight of NCTC as well, suggests Praveen Dalal.

So NCTC without a Legal Framework is definitely Unconstitutional and even tagging it with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 would not save it from the Patent and Apparent Unconstitutionality with which it is suffering, opines Praveen Dalal.

If this is the legal and constitutional position, Indian government has every reason to panic but neither Indian government nor Google has any justification to censor news and articles simply because they are critical in nature.

It has been reported that Google is censoring NCTC and intelligence agencies related results in India. On further analysis and research, even we are of the same opinion that Google censored NCTC news and search results in India. It seems this is handwork of Google manual manipulation of news and search results. Google has not only dumped NCTC and intelligence agencies related critical articles deep in the news and search results but has also removed the pointer pointing towards the news posts.

Some of the results that first appeared in Google search results and Google news and then disappeared are:

(1) National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India

(2) National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) of India Is Required

(3) Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Agencies of India Is Needed.

This is not the right manner of reaching at a consensus about establishment of NCTC in India. It is now evident why states are so apprehensive about the establishment of NCTC as such an institution without constitutional and legal safeguards would bring more troubles than solutions.

With these intentions and acts of Indian government, it is clear that NCTC has not been proposed to deter terrorism in India but to gain more and more control over law and order situations across states and state executive and legislative powers. In such situation, establishment of NCT would only impose further financial and manpower constraints with no actual benefits. It would be better if we have no NCTC than having a handicapped and self serving institution as has been presently suggested.