Rajya Sabha members on Tuesday expressed concern over the U.S. government’s Internet snooping programme and asked the Centre to take immediate steps to safeguard the country’s strategic interests and privacy of its citizens.
Referring to media reports of the U.S. spy agencies snooping on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, BJP MP Tarun Vijay said the Indian government, its leaders and citizens were all vulnerable to such kind of “cyber incursions,” which were posing a serious threat to India’s sovereignty and security.
Referring to America’s Prism programme, where its National Security Agency authorised tapping of phones and snooping on the Internet globally, Mr. Vijay asked the Government of India to secure all kinds of data from being accessed by the U.S. “Financial data of Indians is being monitored by the U.S. agencies through its credit card companies VISA and MasterCard … India should also develop its own credit card system as has been done by China which was essential for nation’s financial and economic security,” he asserted.
Mr. Vijay, who was supported by all MPs cutting across party line, also raised concern over the monitoring of emails and social contents by Internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, which had their servers in the U.S. He demanded that the government develop its own social media platform or force these companies to set up their servers in India so that there was no pilferage of data.
The BJP MP said Indian officials, particularly those working for strategic organisations, were using private emails like Gmail for their official communication. “It is a known fact that these emails can easily be monitored by the U.S. agencies … It is therefore important that all official email communication should be from a secured, government-owned gateway to save our information from leaking out.”