The Home Ministry has informed the Lok Sabha that ten central agencies are authorised to intercept phone and Whatsapp data.
In response to the query by MP Dayanidhi Maran whether the Government does Tapping of WhatsApp calls and Messages in the country, the Minister for State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy said that the power of interception is to be exercised as per provisions of law, rules and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Each such case is approved by the Union Home Secretary, in case of Central Government; and by Home Secretary of the State concerned, in case of a State Government, he added, referring to Section 69 of Information Technology Act and Section 5 of Indian Telegraph Act.
He gave a list of following agencies authorised to intercept whatsapp and phone data:
- Intelligence Bureau;
- Narcotics Control Bureau;
- Enforcement Directorate;
- Central Board of Direct Taxes;
- Directorate of Revenue Intelligence;
- Central Bureau of Investigation;
- National Investigation Agency;
- Cabinet Secretariat (RAW);
- Directorate of Signal Intelligence (For service areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North East and Assam only),
- Commissioner of Police, Delhi
The Minister clarified that there is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption and permission from competent authority is required, as per due process of law and rules, in each case. Each case is also reviewed by a Committee Chaired by the Cabinet Secretary in case of Central Government and Chief Secretary of the State concerned in case of a State Government, he said.