Team  SoOLEGAL

"THE VEIL OF PRIVACY CAN BE LIFTED FOR LEGITIMATE STATE INTERESTS, THE AFFIDAVIT BY CENTRE STATES", CENTRE SAYS TO SUPREME COURT

Team SoOLEGAL 11 Mar 2019 2:34pm

Petitions were filed by M L Sharma, Internet Freedom Federation, Raman Jit Singh Chima and Mahua Moitra to challenge Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and The Information Technology (Procedure for Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009 (2009 IT Rules), and the December 20 notification.

The Supreme Court had directed the Centre to file counter-affidavit in the petitions on January 14.

Earlier, power under Section 69 was being exercised in accordance to a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). However, agencies which would have the jurisdiction and competence to invoke provisions of Section 69 were not provided by the SOP.

Claim of the centre is that the notification issued earlier streamlines, restricts and confines the use of section 69 for legitimate interests of the State by specifying the agencies who can exercise the power and thereby confines it to "legitimate state interest".

Ministry of Home Affairs issued notification on December 20, 2018 to authorize 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer information has been issued to "ensure that the right to privacy of law abiding citizens is not violated by any agency, intermediary or person", states the affidavit filed by the Central Government in Supreme Court. 
The affidavit filed on February 21 states that the rules of IT already have safeguards to be adopted from the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the PUCL case in relation to phone tapping.

"There is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption as the authorized agencies still require the permission of the competent authority. i.e. Union Home Secretary in each case as per due process of law and justification for interception or monitoring or decryption."


According to the Centre, the notification is justified for the threats of "terrorism, radicalization, cross border terrorism, organized crime, drug cartels etc, and the "veil of privacy" can be lifted to counter such threats to "national security".

Tagged: Petition   SupremeCourt   IT   Directions  
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