Thursday, March 17, 2011

Centralised ICT Control System Of India

This is the updated version of my previously published article. In my previous article, Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law, suggested the establishment of a Centralised ICT Control System in India. The Department of Telecommunications (DOT) accepted his suggestion and established the Central Monitoring System (CMS) of India. The article has been revised and updated keeping in mind the subsequent developments.

The need of a centralised ICT control system was very pressing. The decentralised nature of e-surveillance and lawful interceptions has posed various practical difficulties before the Central government. The DOT and Home Ministry of India realised these practical difficulties and established a CMS for India.

The central monitoring system is a centralised mechanism that can assist in lawful interception of communications from landline, mobile and Internet. This would help the law enforcement and intelligence agencies of India to effectively analyse ICT traffic for intelligence inputs.

According to Praveen Dalal, “Intelligence Agencies of a country play an important role in its Internal and External Security. There must be a “Centralised ICT Control System” to govern Intelligence Agencies if there are more than one such Agencies. If there are numerous Intelligence Agencies working for different Government Departments, there is a possibility of “Lack of Coordination” and “Inadequate and Inappropriate Information Sharing”. Nothing can be more beneficial than a “Centralised ICT Control Centre” for the Indian National and Internal Security.

Presently, intelligence agencies of India are operating in a decentralised manner. There is no centralised authority or Ministry that can coordinate or collaborate between different intelligence agencies. Further, there is no Parliamentary oversight of these intelligence agencies as well. This is also one of the reasons why the national counter terrorism centre (NCTC) of India has still not been established.

The Intelligence Infrastructure of India needs to be rejuvenated and streamlined, opines Praveen Dalal. Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram must consider these suggestions seriously and start working in this direction as soon as possible.