Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Indian Centre For Communication Security Research and Monitoring (CCSRM)

An Indian centre for communication security research and monitoring (CCSRM) was proposed by the Union Cabinet in the past. The Department of Telecommunication (DOT) was asked to do the needful in this regard. The DOT came up with the proposal of establishment of Central Monitoring System (CMS) that can help security agencies and law enforcement agencies in intercepting mobile phone calls and monitor internet traffic.

None can doubt about the utility of a CMS or CCSRM. However, there are many technical, administrative and legal issues that have to be addressed before implementing either CMS or CCSRM.

On the technical side, intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies of India need to develop skills for intelligence gathering and their analysis. If we keep in mind the latest development, it can be assumed that services of Blackberry, Gmail, Skype, etc would not be banned in India for some more time. Naturally, their highly encrypted services would continue in India that intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies of India cannot monitor unless they are skilled enough to do so.

On the legal side, in India intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies are practically governed by no law. Even the constitutional validity of national investigation agency act, 2008 is still doubtful. Further, India does not have a constitutionally sound lawful interception law. Phone tapping in India is still done in an unconstitutional manner and at times by private individuals as well.

On the administrative side, the intelligence infrastructure of India is in big mess. There seems to be a tussle between various Ministries of Indian government and this is preventing the successful implementation of various projects like national intelligence grid (Natgrid), crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS), national counter terrorism centre (NCTC), central monitoring system (CMS), etc.

However, nothing is more offensive than an absence of Parliamentary oversight of intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and projects like Natgrid, CCTNS, NCTC, CMS, etc.

Fortunately, our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is taking interest in these projects and he has recently has sought clarifications on the upcoming CCSRM system. I hope the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Union Cabinet and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would bring some order in the otherwise chaosed world of intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies of India.

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