The pet e-surveillance project of India nick named as central monitoring system (CMS) project of India has recently been imposed upon Indians without any parliamentary oversight and legal framework. Now the telecom operators have been taken into loop by apportioning a portion of the cost of CMS project to them.
According to the latest directions of Department of Telecommunications (DOT), telecom operators will soon have to share the burden with the central government in setting up of CMS project.
DOT intends to ensure this cooperation through modifying the existing telecom licences under which it will become mandatory for a service provider to provide connectivity up to the nearest point of presence of Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network of the CMS at its own cost in the form of dark optic fiber with redundancy. From the point of MPLS onwards the burden of handling the flow of information will lie on the government.
However, till now Indian government has done nothing to protect civil liberties of Indian citizens. It has done nothing at all to balance civil liberties and national security requirements in India and is inclining heavily towards order less e-surveillance. Even the national cyber security policy of India (NCSP) 2013 has failed to protect privacy rights of Indians. Indian government is also targeting subscribers of new SIM cards by proposing biometric based subscriber identification before a new SIM card is activated.
The CMS allows security agencies to intercept mails, messages and conversations over telecom networks without the current requirement of manual intervention of service providers. Further, in the absence of parliamentary oversight and judicial scrutiny there is no check and balances at all to prevent the abuse of CMS project. The only safeguard available to Indian citizens is to exercise the self defence in cyberspace by using technological means.