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Making mountain where even a molehill doesn't exist: Arun Jaitley on snooping diktat

The Home Ministry Order Said That The Power To Snoop On Computers Was Granted Under The Information Technology Act, 2000.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Shashikant Sharma | Updated on: 21 Dec 2018, 04:51:28 PM
The power to snoop on computers was granted under the Information Technology Act, 2000. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi :

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday hit back at the Congress over the computer snooping diktat, saying the Opposition was overreacting on the issue. In his response to Congress leader Anand Sharma in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, “On 20 December, same order of authorisation was repeated that was existing since 2009. You are making a mountain where a molehill does not exist.” The BJP leader’s response came after Sharma’s severe criticism of the Narendra Modi government for allowing investigative agencies to snoop on people computer. “It is the ultimate assault on fundamental rights and the right to privacy. It is also in direct conflict with the Supreme Court judgment that the right to privacy is a fundamental right,” the Congress leader told reporters in Delhi.

A home ministry order signed by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Thursday allowed 10 central agencies authorisation of “interception, monitoring, and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”.

Also Read | ‘Stalker Sarkar’: Opposition slams Modi government for snooping diktat

According to the government diktat, the subscriber or service provider or any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies. Failing to do so will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.

The Opposition parties-led by the Congress slammed the Modi government for the “ultimate assault” on fundamental rights. Criticising the move, the Congress party said, “From Modi Sarkar to stalker sarkar, clearly the string of losses has left the BJP government desperate for information.” Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma described the move “ultimate assault” on the Right to Privacy.

Several other Opposition parties, including the CPI(M), the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), said that they will collectively oppose the Narendra Modi government’s diktat issued on Thursday.

Also Read | Our phones are being tapped by Modi govt, says Ghulam Nabi Azad

Another BJP leader and Union Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, defended the move, saying the decision was taken in the national interest. “This has been done in national security interest. It has been done under the law made by the Manmohan Singh government in 2009. Each case of interception and the decision is to be approved Union Home Secretary,” Prasad said.

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First Published : 21 Dec 2018, 04:40:42 PM