GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 1598
ANSWERED ON AUGUST 23, 2013
Central Monitoring System Project
1598. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR
Will the Minister of COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state;
(a) the statutes, Government Orders and Notifications which deal with the establishment and maintenance of the Central Monitoring System (CMS) project;
(b) whether CMS is in contravention to the guidelines for privacy laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court;
(c) if so, the reasons for establishment of the CMS;
(d) whether the data gathered through the new CMS is retained;
(e) if so, the period for which such data is retained and whether this data can be shared with third parties; and
(f) the recourse/legal protection available to Indian citizens against whom there is unwarranted surveillance or misuse/ abuse of power?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS
AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(SHRI MILIND DEORA)
(a) Sir, Central Monitoring System (CMS) project has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in its meeting held on 16.06.2011.
(b) & (c) The interception and monitoring of any target under CMS can be done only after following the due process of law as stipulated in the Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 read with Rule 419-A of Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007, which were issued in compliance to the Hon’ble Supreme Court guidelines.
CMS has been planned to automate the process of interception and monitoring for quick provisioning, maintaining better secrecy of targets and enhanced data analytical capabilities. Further, CMS has an inbuilt mechanism of check and balance, wherein the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are not able to provision the target themselves and the provisioning authority is not able to see the content of the intercepted communication. Additionally, there is a provision of auto generation of audit trail of command logs related to interception and monitoring, which works as a deterrent to any unauthorized provisioning.
(d) & (e) The data gathered through CMS has to be handled by the concerned law Enforcement Agencies as per the provisions of Sub-Rule 18 of Rule 419-A of Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007 wherein it is stated that records pertaining to directions for interception and of intercepted messages shall be destroyed by the relevant competent authority and the authorized security and Law Enforcement Agencies every six months unless these are, or likely to be, required for functional requirement. The sharing of the data is regulated by the sub-rule 8 of Rule 419-A of Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007.
(f) An illegal/unauthorized interception and monitoring of any communication is a punishable act under section 25 & 26 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 wherein one can be punished with imprisonment which may extend up to three years or with fine or with both.