Over the last few years, different aspects of the Web have been experiencing exponential growth rates. According to the Times of India, security agencies in the country have been shifting their focus to email hosting platforms and less on phones. E-mail monitoring over the month of September has seen a 36 percent jump while the tapping of telephones has seen a marginal drop.
The official number of e-mails being screened rose to 1,174 up from 1,601 on September over August, which represents a 36.4 percent increase. Within the same period, the number of phones being monitored dropped from 10,648 to 10,490.
According to a high-level committee, the snooping orders were issued by the Union Home Secretary with the Intelligence Bureau requesting 1,915 fresh requests, the Enforcement Directorate requesting 11 and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence requesting 492 snooping requests. Any interception by various intelligence agencies including the police and the army is made possible under the Indian Telegraph Act and later confirmed by a committee of Cabinet Secretaries which currently is comprised of Ajit Seth, Law Secretary B.A Agarwal and Telecom Secretary R. Chandrasekhar. The most recent meeting of the committee confirmed the monitoring of 876 e-mails after the approval of the home secretary.
Currently, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Army’s Signal Intelligence are monitoring 725 e-mails. The IB is also monitoring 5,500 phones of which 1,915 were requests made in September alone. There was also a sharp decline in the number of monitored phones by the Army’s Signal Intelligence from 1,100 in August to 286 in September of which 100 requests were made in September.
As email hosting and use continue to become mainstream, it is obvious that the needs have shifted from traditional monitoring to the use of Web-based services. These numbers are just a small reflection of the changes in the industry and the growth of Internet-based services that people rely upon heavily for both business and personal use such as e-mail.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein