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Updated: November 23, 2010 04:04 IST

Over 5,000 phones being tapped daily

Vinay Kumar
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
With the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the CWG scandal and the 2G spectrum scam breaking out, interception or tapping of phones and e-mail accounts would reach higher levels. File photo
The Hindu With the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the CWG scandal and the 2G spectrum scam breaking out, interception or tapping of phones and e-mail accounts would reach higher levels. File photo

Even as the 2G scam media tapes are doing the rounds, there are 5,000-6,000 telephones being tapped on an average across the country by the Central investigation and intelligence agencies on a daily basis, sources said.

The sources feel that with the Adarsh scam, the Commonwealth Games scandal, and the 2G spectrum scam breaking out, the interception or tapping of phones and e-mail could reach higher levels, and many more details indicating the involvement of more persons in the scams could tumble out as different investigation agencies go ahead with probes.

“Of these, a majority relate to terror networks, and 10-12 per cent pertains to economic offences, including those involved in hawala dealings,” the sources said.

Intelligence and security agencies often keep tabs on the activities of terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir as well the northeast, and the Naxal groups operating in seven States.

Approval

In India, telephone tapping has to be approved by a designated authority. The Central or State government is empowered to order interception of messages as per Section 5 of the Indian Telegraphic Act, 1885. There is also a provision for a review committee to supervise the order.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, 2000, in general prohibits the interception of communications by a third party, with exceptions related to government agencies.

For the Central intelligence and investigation agencies, the designated authority is the Union Home Secretary, while for the States it is the State Home Secretary. The permission for interception or tapping is given for an initial period of 60 days and subsequently comes up for renewal before the designated authority. There are nearly 690 million mobile and landline telephone subscribers in India.

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From a national security perspective, 5,000 is a very small number and must increase to at least 10 times this number - and the govt. willing to bear the costs of increasing their staff as well to monitor and take proactive action. What about private detective agencies who tap phones (I assume only GSM mobile phones)? This is being used by private companies to monitor their employees not only for their internal security but also to play manipulative politics. Isn't this an intrusion of personal privacy? How can this be stopped?

from:  Bharathiyan
Posted on: Nov 29, 2010 at 20:49 IST

If you arent doing anything illegal then you have nothing to worry about.

from:  Tom Bombadil
Posted on: Nov 29, 2010 at 04:28 IST

You left out the unofficial tapping (without approval). This "service" is (clandestinely?) available in many metros to anybody who can pay. One difference is that only mobile phones can be tapped by them. It may be illegal, but police know that these unofficial tappers exist and might even be using their services. People know it exists after stories have come to light. Government approved tapping could be relatively benign because approvals are needed.

from:  Concerned Guy
Posted on: Nov 25, 2010 at 09:00 IST
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