Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Indian Central Monitoring System: Part II

 The central monitoring system (CMS) of India has reiterated the long claimed notion of civil liberty advocates that the big brother is listening. While this may be tolerable to the extent of genuine law enforcement requirements but a blanket implementation of the central monitoring system (CMS) project of India has proved that the big brother has exceeded its limits.

Civil liberty protection in cyberspace is the cherished mandate of every democratic and constitution abiding government. However, countries around the world are not only ignoring this obligation but are also actively working in the direction of violating the same. Spy software like FinFisher is openly used by governments around the world.

In shocking news, it has been reported that command and control servers for FinFisher were found in 36 countries including India. The malware FinFisher has also tried to hide itself behind genuine software like Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla has issued a cease and desist notice to Gamma International for maliciously using its brand and reputation.  

The central monitoring system (CMS) project of India is one of the most controversial projects about to be launched by Indian government. It the CMS project of India is attached with other controversial projects like Aadhaar; this would be a serious civil liberty fiasco. The Aadhaar project is already questioned in the Indian courts and the CMS project would also face similar fate. The fact is that India must reconcile civil liberties and national security requirements immediately.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of Asia, The CMS Project of India is a good and ambitious project that is required to manage National Security and Law Enforcement requirements of the country. However, adequate “Procedural Safeguards” must also be established in the System so that it is not abused for political and personal reasons, warns Dalal. The CMS Project would be “Illegal and Unconstitutional” if implemented in its current form, warns Dalal.

India is giving wrong signals to the entire world. In the present circumstances it is not wrong to conclude that India is not only adopting double standards but is also abdicated the rule of law. Further, the draconian cyber law of India must be repealed as piecemeal actions on the part of various activists would not help us in the long run.

The PMO must interfere at this crucial stage and scrap both Aadhaar and CMS projects as soon as possible. Recently U.S refused to sign the treaty that could have regulated Internet in the worst form. U.S. has also refused to serve summons upon Internet companies of U.S. citing constitutional reasons.

India has to mend its ways so that it remains on the side of protection of civil liberties and use e-surveillance in only those cases that are absolutely required.