Over the past few years, many governments of the world have started monitoring communication channels. The Indian government is no exception, the Ministry for Home Affairs ordering the interception of 10,000 phones and 1,300 email accounts between October and December 2012 alone.
According to a document reviewed by The Economic Times, Home Secretary RK Singh has cleared 4,000 new requests of phone surveillance, 700 of which are for overseas connections.
Some 500 new email accounts have been placed under surveillance in addition to the 800 existing ones. 460 of the phone and email wiretapping clearances were requested on the grounds of public emergency and threat to public safety.
Most requests were made by the Intelligence Bureau, but the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Army’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, State Intelligence Units, and police departments have also made requests.
While Income Tax authorities are not allowed to monitor communications in an effort to identify tax evasion, under Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the government can intercept messages if it’s in the interest of sovereignty, integrity, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order.