Opposition slams MHA order on intercepting all computers, Govt defends move
New Delhi, Dec 21: The Opposition on Friday attacked the BJP-led government over a Home Ministry order authorising 10 central agencies to intercept "any information" on computers, even as the Centre defended the move saying it was a mere repetition of an order framed during the UPA regime in 2009.
The order authorises the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Assam only) and Commissioner of Police, Delhi to intercept information stored on any computer device.
Chidambaram condemns the order
Veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram condemned the order which, he claimed, is applicable in an "Orwellian state". "If anybody is going to monitor the computer, including your computer, that is the Orwellian state. George Orwell is around the corner. It is condemnable," he said.
Attack on privacy, says Anand Sharma
His party colleague Anand Sharma said the BJP government is converting India into a surveillance state through the order. "It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgement that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. The government has done it by strength we collectively oppose it," Sharma told reporters with other opposition leaders by his side in the national capital.
Jaitley cites UPA order
Union minister Arun Jaitley defended the move saying that the authorisation was given under rules framed during the UPA regime in 2009.
Jaitley said the NDA government has used the same rules which were made by the UPA government in 2009 for agencies concerning issues of national security.
'Big Brother Syndrome', says Surjewala
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also took to Twitter and attacked the government.
"This time, attack on privacy. Modi government mocks and flouts Fundamental 'Right to Privacy' with brazen impunity! Having lost elections, now wants to scan/snoop your computers? 'Big Brother Syndrome' is truly embedded in NDA's DNA!," Surjewala said.
Blanket surveillance is bad, says Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also took to Twitter to attack the Centre's order.
"I have come to know that Union Home Ministry has issued an order yesterday authorising 10 Central Agencies to carry out interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.
If it is for National Security, then only for that purpose Central Government already has the machinery. But, why all commoners will be affected? Public Opinion please... Blanket surveillance is bad in law," she said.
Why is every Indian being treated like a criminal, asks Yechury
Communist Party on India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also criticised the government for treating every citizen like a criminal and described the order as unconstitutional.
"Why is every Indian being treated like a criminal? This order by a government wanting to snoop on every citizen is unconstitutional and in breach of the telephone tapping guidelines, the privacy Judgement and the Aadhaar judgement," Yechury tweeted.
Omar Abdullah's take on snooping order
Former Jammu and Kashmri Chief Minister Omar Abdullah joined the debate, and wrote on micro blogging site Twitter, saying "Given that the government has now authorised multiple agencies to snoop on the personal & official computers of the Hon'ble judges of the Supreme Court I hope the SC takes a long hard look at the legality of the order."
George Orwell's Big Brother is here, says Asaduddin Owaisi
AIMIM and Lok Sabha member, Asaduddin Owaisi, said: "Modi has used a simple government order to permit our national agencies to snoop on our communications. Who knew that this is what they meant when they said 'ghar ghar Modi'.
"George Orwell's Big Brother is here and welcome to 1984," he had tweeted late on Thursday.