Saturday 11 June 2011

Indian Telecom Companies Used Private Individuals To Do Tapping

Telephone tapping in India has never been done in a constitutional manner. Indian government has never drafted constitutionally sound lawful interception law in India as it would have diluted their endemic e-surveillance capabilities. Till now India has no constitutionally sound lawful interception and phone tapping laws in India.

Not only this, even privacy rights and data protection rights have never been enacted as they would have created hindrance in the otherwise draconian affairs of Indian government and Indian intelligence agencies.

The matter is even worst when we consider the fact that in India the law enforcement and intelligence agencies are practically governed by no law. They are still governed by colonial laws that have no significance in the present times.

Even the phone tapping in India is done under a law that is nothing but a fa├žade to engage in illegal and unconstitutional phone tapping. The Indian telegraph act, 1885 is a law that deserves to be repealed instead of encouragement by Indian government.

During the most recent hearing before the Supreme Court of India regarding phone tapping of politician Amar Singh, it has come to the knowledge of the Court that the government had been intercepting calls on a massive scale before new norms were put in place in 2006.

The phone tapping in question was arranged by a private security agency employee contracted by the service provider to receive interception orders from official agencies. This is the most common method employed by telecom companies’ world over to avoid legal challenges. Despite what the Indian government claims in the Supreme Court, the intentions were to avoid legal scrutiny from the courts.

Even after 2006, the Supreme Court’s guidelines regarding phone tapping are not followed. The central and state home ministries are doing what they want to do and they are simply beyond the scrutiny of right to information act, 2005 and are not at all accountable to any person, institution or even to the Supreme Court of India.

The further issuance of guidelines by Supreme Court in this regard would not serve any purpose. India must immediately enact a lawful interception law as has been suggested by many legal experts.

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